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Recently Retired Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Duo Inspired Students, Met Tech Challenges

June 9, 2015

Bruce Black Featuredimage

Award-Winning Professor: Bruce Black, PhD, was named the Wireless Educator of the Year by the Global Wireless Education Consortium, and taught classes every quarter since joining the Rose-Hulman faculty in 1983. (Photo by Shawn Spence)

Teaching at Rose-Hulman allowed recently retired electrical and computer engineering professors Bruce Black and Keith Hoover to enjoy two key areas in their professional lives: keeping up with today’s technology and passing along those lessons to students.

The personal computer and cellular communication hadn’t approached their technological horizons when the award-winning educators started shaping the careers and lives of Rose-Hulman current students and alumni.

Black was named the Wireless Educator of the Year by the Global Wireless Education Consortium, recognizing his leadership in the wireless field, and efforts in preparing students for employment in wireless and wireless-related industries.

A member of the faculty since 1983, Black developed a senior-level class on wireless communication systems which introduced students to mobile radio communications, with application to cellular telephone systems, wireless networks, and personal communication systems. He also taught classes on communication networks, electrical systems, and the analysis and design of engineering systems.

“I enjoy keeping up with the times and teaching students,” says Black, in an interview earlier in this final academic year. That love of teaching has been extended to his son Michael, a 2001 Rose-Hulman electrical and computer engineering alumnus who is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at American University.

Meanwhile, Hoover instilled the love of teaching, tinkering, and giving back that were hallmarks of his mentor, legendary Rose-Hulman educator and administrator Herman Moench. They shared interests in amateur radio, computer programming, and electronic repair.

Keith Hoover

Passion For Teaching: A 1971 Rose-Hulman alumnus, Keith Hoover, PhD, challenged students to create their computer systems, and was known for playing a guitar in class to demonstrate concepts of active filters and amplifier design.. “I enjoy turning people onto something cool and interesting that highlights the human race,” he says. (Photo by Shawn Spence)

Hoover, a 1971 electrical engineering graduate, proudly served as the Herman A. Moench Distinguished Faculty Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and received the Dean’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 1982.

His passion for teaching featured playing a guitar in class to demonstrate concepts of active filters and amplifier design. He also challenged students to create their computer systems—first through a 68,000 microprocessor chip on a breadboard to today’s advanced ARM processor embedded into a FPGA Xilinx chip.

“I enjoy turning people onto something cool and interesting that highlights the human race,” he says.

One interesting project had Hoover working with students to redesign the electronic system for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic scoreboard pylon. Sleek new digit driver boards eliminated thousands of relays and miles of wiring. The system was used for more than 20 years.