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William Gould Dow Distinguished Lectureship

The William Gould Dow Distinguished Lectureship is the highest external honor bestowed by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The Lectureship was established by donations from students and friends of William Gould Dow, and recognizes the accomplishments of external individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the field of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Recipients are selected by the department on the basis of lifetime achievements, groundbreaking contributions to their fields, and sustained research excellence. They offer a lecture to the campus community, and meet with EECS faculty and students during their visit. 

William Gould Dow (1895 – 1999)

William Gould Dow stated, “My greatest contributions to the U-M have been in the promotion and organization of sponsored research funding … as a means of providing research to support graduate students getting their PhDs.” These accomplishments represent the heart and purpose behind Professor Dow’s work, and have proven to be the cornerstones of what makes the EECS Department great.

During Prof. Dow’s 38 active years at the University of Michigan, first as an instructor (1926), through to Professor (1945), and finally Chair (1957-64), he was largely or solely responsible for creating and organizing at least 13 laboratories and research units, including the Solid-State Electronics Laboratory, the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM), the Willow Run Laboratories, the Space Physics Research Laboratory, the Cooley Electronics Laboratory, and DRDA (Division of Research Development and Administration).

Prof. Dow was a pioneer in electronic engineering education. He introduced into the curriculum vacuum tube and nuclear theories, and the use of solid-state devices and computers. He wrote a classic textbook on electronics, Fundamentals of Engineering Electronics, 1937, which remained a standard for many years. During the mid 1950’s, he was active in establishing the Nuclear Engineering Department, and in incorporating instruction in computer engineering into the electrical engineering curriculum.

He worked during his entire career, for more than 60 years, to make graduate education in this country the most advanced in the western world, based on pure and applied research. He insisted that in defense and advanced technologies, the United States should be second to none.

Through the establishment of the William Gould Dow Distinguished Lectureship, we salute the myriad accomplishments of Prof. Dow, remember his devotion to education, to research, and to his students and colleagues, and bring to the U-M community some of the brightest minds in engineering today.

Tributes to William Gould Dow on the Occasion of his 100th Birthday

“William G. Dow Celebrates Life,” a Tribute on the Occasion of his 100th Birthday

“Nearly 100 and Still on the Go,” by Dawn Wondero and Benjamin C. ZumBrunnen [Michigan Professional Engineer, pp. 12-13, May/June 1995]