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Alfred H. Lovell

1945–1953 | Chair of Electrical Engineering
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Alfred H. Lovell.

Alfred Henry Lovell (1884-1960) was a Michigan alumnus and an expert in power plant design. He expanded the department’s course offerings in power plant design, and was passionate about exposing students to industry opportunities.

A native of Canada, he peppered his education with significant industrial experience in electric power companies. These included positions with civil engineering and power companies throughout much of Canada and the US, including hydraulics companies at Niagara Falls, power plants in Utah, and power and lighting companies in Michigan.

Lovell graduated with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1909 and 1914, respectively. Like many other faculty members during the early decades, he was first hired in the department as an Instructor in 1911. He stayed active in industry throughout his time as an educator by consulting on power projects throughout the country. He was also field engineer on various campus projects, including construction of the Natural Science building.

During World War I, Lovell spent twenty months with engineer regiments. In that time he rose from the rank of Captain in the First Officers’ Training Corps to Colonel of Engineers, serving with the 310th Regiment in the US, England, and France. In September 1918, he returned from France to command the Third Training Regiment at Camp Humphries, Virginia.

When his service ended, he returned again to his alma mater as a full professor. His research focused on power generators, and he published a textbook on the subject of power plant design economics called Generating Stations. He also spent time overseas inspecting French, English, and Italian power plants, and provided valuable information to the U.S. Army Engineers.

In 1930, Prof. Lovell became Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering. He held this position until 1944, when he became Acting Chair of the EE Department during Prof. Benjamin Bailey’s leave of absence and Department Chair the following year.

As Chair, Lovell oversaw the relocation of the department to the new South wing of the East Engineering Building. This move gathered the scattered dynamo power, photometry, electronics, radio, and electrical measurements labs into one place for easier management of power supplies and lab materials.

In the summer of 1937, Lovell oversaw an Electronics Institute on campus conducted by General Electric Company, the Westinghouse Corporation, the Bell Telephone Laboratories, and the Radio Corporation of America. Lovell also initiated a series of courses on power plant design and transmission.

He served as Director of AIEE from 1932-36, and kept active with the University ROTC.

Prof. Lovell retired from U-M in 1954.

References and Further Reading

Alfred Lovell: U-M Faculty History Project

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