The University Record, October 9, 1995

Happy 100th Birthday, Prof. Dow!

Do you know this man? Ever since he joined the electrical engineering faculty back in 1926, he has been a familiar figure in the College of Engineering. But newcomers to the U-M may not realize how different the University would be today, if not for William G. Dow, professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science.

During his 38 years of active service to the U-M, Dow established the Space Physics Research Laboratory on North Campus; co-founded Willow Run Research Laboratories, which later became ERIM—the Environmental Reserch Institute of Michigan; created a new U-M unit (now DRDA) to manage administration of university research grants; and established the precedent of U-M faculty conducting research for federal agencies and private corporations.

In his spare time, he created the College of Engineering’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department, sponsored the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from U-M, received numerous patents and contributed to the invention of a radar-jamming device that helped the Allies win World War II.

“He is the father of modern electrical engineering at the U-M,” says George Haddad, professor of EECS and current department chair. In honor of Dow’s 100th birthday, the department organized a birthday celebration last weekend for former students, colleagues and friends from all over the United States.