Professorships and Endowed Chairs

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ECE faculty are the bedrock of the department's long tradition of excellence in teaching and research. Our scientists and teachers have their eyes set on the future with their spirit of innovation, dedication to teaching, and life changing discoveries. As they guide and mentor tomorrow's scientists, engineers, and innovators, they have benefited immensely from your continued support. Your philanthropy has allowed our faculty to take risks that advance discoveries and aid in innovation, and has helped us attract and retain faculty with outstanding potential to continue in our quest for solutions to today’s problems and tomorrow’s challenges. We thank you for your support, and hope you will continue your support of this journey of scholarship, discovery, and invention. 

We encourage you to support our faculty in their journey of discovery and innovation. 
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Vincentine Hermes-Luh Professorship

Established in 1996 by Dr. Johnson Y.S. Luh, a 1963 Ph.D. graduate of ECE, the purpose of the Vincentine Hermes-Luh chair is to attract, retain, and recognize an outstanding faculty to the department in the teaching and research of controls and dynamical systems. Faculty appointed to the Vincentine Hermes-Luh chair conduct research, and work with undergraduate and graduate students and other faculty to bring about new developments and strengthen the systems area. 

Currently, professors Nicola Elia and Murti Salapaka hold the Vincentine Hermes-Luh Chair in Electrical Engineering. Elia’s research interests include network control systems, distributed robust optimization, communication systems with access to feedback, cooperative networked multi-agent systems, smart grid control and optimization. Salapaka's research spans control theory and its applications to nano-interrogation and bio-manipulation at the molecular scale using laser tweezers and atomic force microscopes

Sanford P. Bordeau Professorship

The Sanford P. Bordeau Professorship was established in 1980 through the generosity of Sanford P. and Lenore Edgerton Bordeau, both alumni of the University. Their endowment is intended to support an outstanding professor in ECE who can fulfill the department’s research and educational missions.

Professor Sang-Hyun Oh holds the Sanford P. Bordeau Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Oh's research is situated at the intersection of nanotechnology and biomedical research, and focuses particularly on the design, fabrication, and characterization of optical nanostructures and their applications. 

Louis John Schnell Professorship

The Louis John Schnell Professorship was established in 2000 by Selma Riggs, a representative of the Louis John Schnell estate, to recognize, retain and attract outstanding faculty teaching and carrying out research in the department. Louis John Schnell was a 1932 graduate of the department. 

Currently, professors Chris Kim and Steven J. Koester hold the Louis John Schnell Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Kim's research focuses on designing energy-efficient, robust, and intelligent integrated circuits and systems. Koester’s research interests include development of semiconductor device solutions to address the worldwide energy crisis, and to explore new applications for semiconductor and solid-state  devices.

Robert F. Hartmann Professorship

The Robert F. Hartmann Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering was established in 2010 by 1965 electrical engineering graduate, Robert F. Hartmann. He has a deep appreciation for the opportunities afforded him during his academic journey at the University of Minnesota. The education he received here opened the door to a long and successful career designing integrated circuits (ICs) starting at Rockwell Corporation and then at Electronic Arrays, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Signetics. His professional experience led to the founding of Altera Corporation, a pioneer in the design and manufacture of user-programmable ICs now known by acronyms such as FPGA and PLD. With this endowment, Hartmann hopes to support, recruit and retain outstanding faculty, and encourage junior faculty to grow and develop their careers by providing funds beyond core faculty funding. The fund can be used for recruitment and retention, salary supplementation, travel and materials expenses, research grants, special equipment purchases, and in other ways that support the faculty in their research and teaching missions. 

Distinguished McKnight University Professor Jian-Ping Wang currently holds the Robert F. Hartmann chair. Professor Wang's research interests include nanomagnetism and quantum spintronics with a focus on searching, fundamentally understanding and fabricating novel magnetic materials and quantum spintronic devices.

Robert and Marjorie Henle Chair in Electrical Engineering

The Robert and Marjorie Henle Chair in Electrical Engineering was established in 2003 by David Henle and his wife Joan in memory of his parents Robert and Marjorie. Both were graduates of the University of Minnesota, and Robert earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1951. He went on to have a long and distinguished career with IBM and was a pioneer in the development of semiconductor circuits for computers, a leader in advanced semiconductor technologies for computers at IBM, and authored several publications and patents. He was a recipient of the University’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. The purpose of the endowment fund is to attract, support, and retain outstanding faculty by providing them incentives that will help them grow and develop their careers.

The Robert and Marjorie Henle Chair is currently held by professor Sachin Sapatnekar whose primary research interests are in the area of computer-aided design (CAD) of VLSI systems. His focus is on building practical algorithms that can provide accurate solutions with a reasonable amount of computation.

Cymer Endowed Professorship in Advanced Optical Systems, Metrology, and Lasers

Set up in 2001, the purpose of the Cymer Endowed Professorship is to attract, retain, and recognize an outstanding faculty member in ECE in the area of advanced optical systems, metrology, and lasers.

The Cymer Chair is currently held by professor James Leger whose research interests include the application of new techniques in diffractive optics and micro/nano optics to the design of modern electro-optic and biomedical devices.

Oscar A. Schott Professorship in Power Electronics and Systems

Established in 1992 by the Schott Foundation on behalf of 1934 graduate of the department, Oscar A. Schott, the professorship aims to recognize, retain, and attract an outstanding faculty to ECE to address teaching and research in power electronics and power systems. Faculty appointed to the Oscar A. Schott chair conduct research, and work with undergraduate and graduate students, and other faculty to initiate new developments and strengthen the power electronics and power systems area. 

Regents Professor Ned Mohan currently holds the Oscar A. Schott chair. An NAE member, professor Mohan's research interests are interfacing renewable energy sources with the utility grid to increase their penetration, increasing energy-efficiency usage, making power systems more robust and reliable, and energy storage. 

Edgar F. Johnson Johnson Professorship of Electronic Communications

The Edgar F. Johnson Johnson Professorship of Electronic Communications was created in 1991 in honor of distinguished alumnus Edgar F. Johnson (class of 1921). Johnson was an early pioneer of radio communication in Minnesota, and founded E.F. Johnson company in 1923 in Waseca. Over the years, the company has made significant contributions to the field of communications. The intent of the professorship is to strengthen and expand teaching and research in the area of communications, and support the recruitment and retention of exceptional faculty. It also supports the incorporation of relevant new topics that are an outcome of research in communications, and new faculty to develop facilities that will strengthen their ability to attract subsequent research support. 

Professors Ramesh Harjani and Keshab Parhi currently hold the Edgar F. Johnson Professorship. Harjani’s research interests are in RF/Analog circuits for wireless communications, low power analog circuit design, and CAD techniques for analog circuit design. Parhi’s research delves into all aspects of VLSI signal and image processing with an emphasis on developing techniques to design architectures and algorithms which can be operated with high speed, or lower area, or lower power. Another area of research is the use of advanced signal and image processing techniques and machine learning in the classification of biomedical signals. 

Paul Palmberg Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Paul Palmberg earned his doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota in electrical engineering in 1965. After graduation, he continued his research in surface physics as a postdoc at Cornell University. Several publications and research contributions later, he became a founder and director of research and development for Physical Electronics Inc. in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He played a pivotal role in the development of Auger Electron, and ESCA spectrometers, two products that were the mainstay of Physical Electronics. In 1988 he became the President and CEO of the company, a position he held until his retirement in 2000. Palmberg was known to be a mentor and problem-solver who provided guidance and encouragement to those around him. Echoing these qualities, the Paul Palmberg Professorship  established in 2021 will help in recruiting, supporting, and retaining outstanding faculty members in the field of electrical engineering or computer engineering. 

Professor Tony Low is the inaugural holder of the Paul Palmberg Professorship. Low’s research is largely focused on the class of two-dimensional crystals and their heterostructures, topological and magnetic materials. He works on revealing their basic electronic and optical properties, and their opportunities for novel electronics, spintronics, optoelectronics, nanophotonics and plasmonics.

Centennial Chair

The Centennial Chair was established in 1987 with the intention of expanding the educational capacity and enhancing the academic quality and prestige of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Generously supported by Robert N. Kisch, the focus of the Centennial Chair will help recruit and retain distinguished faculty members who will pursue research and teaching in technologies pertaining to computer design and development, high speed data transmission, and computer control or automation. Faculty holding the chair will in their turn be able to recruit highly qualified researchers and students in the relevant areas. 

The Centennial Chair is currently held by professor Randall Victora whose research involves the theory and modeling of magnetic materials for information storage, spintronics, and biomedical applications.