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College of Engineering salutes five alumni

Mare Payne, News Bureau
(217) 333-0567;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Five alumni of the University of Illinois College of Engineering will be honored Friday (April 20) at the 37th annual Engineering Awards Convocation.

Each year the college recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding alumni and former faculty members with the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering. The award honors leadership, contributions to knowledge and dedication to the professional development of young engineers and scientists.

The award winners:

W. Gene Corley, vice president, Construction Technology Laboratories Inc., Skokie. Corley earned a bachelor’s degree in 1958, a master’s in 1960 and a doctorate in 1961, all in civil engineering. He was honored for his outstanding contributions to the art and science of design of reinforced and prestressed concrete structures and for his extraordinary service to the advancement of the standards of structural engineering practice. Corley began his career designing and developing military bridging with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 1964, he took a position with Portland Cement Association, where he directed research projects on prestressed and reinforced concrete and was involved in research leading to the development of design procedures for concrete structures subjected to various load conditions. In 1987, he became vice president of Construction Technology Laboratories. Responsible for resolving challenging problems, he directed investigations of structural failures to determine the causes and to develop procedures for retrofitting concrete structures with design deficiencies or damage. He was principal investigator and leader of the team charged with evaluating truck bomb damage to the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Merle L. Gilmore, executive vice president and president of Communications Enterprise (retired), Motorola Inc., Schaumburg. He earned a bachelor’s in 1970 and a master’s in 1981 from the Florida Atlantic University, both in electrical engineering. He was honored for leadership in the development, manufacturing and marketing of mobile communication products. Gilmore holds four patents in digital signal processing and was awarded a fifth patent in 1995 for technology to minimize the telephone call delays that can occur in modern digital wireless communication systems. He was selected for various management positions in Motorola in his 30-year career, including president of its land Mobile Products Sector and its president for Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Under his leadership, the Internet and Connectivity Services Division launched VoiceMark Language to help programmers more easily develop new voice services for Web sites. He retired in late 2000.

Charles H. Henry, distinguished member of the technical staff (retired), Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, N.J. He earned a doctorate in 1965 in physics. He was honored for seminal contributions to the fundamental understanding of the optical properties of quantum wells, semiconductor lasers, and advanced photonic technologies. Henry’s original and creative contributions to the field of optical technologies revolutionized telecommunications. His work demonstrates a rare mastery of experiment and theory. For more than 30 years, he led research groups in optoelectronics at the Physics Research Division at Bell Laboratories, where he contributed to the development of the field with a steady stream of discoveries, observations, demonstrations and theories. During his career, he invented or was a co-inventor on 28 U.S. patents, including the quantum well laser. Most modern semiconductor lasers employ quantum wells.

Henry C. Pao, president and chief executive officer, Supertex Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1959, master’s in 1960 and a doctorate in 1966, all in electrical engineering. He was honored for contributions as an engineer and an entrepreneur in the design and manufacture of high-voltage semiconductor products for medical ultrasound imaging, flat panel displays, optical micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telecommunication systems. Pao was a founder of Supertex Inc., which specializes in high-voltage integrated circuits. Since 1976, he has served as president and CEO and as a member of the board of directors. He and his colleagues pioneered the merging of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and double-diffused metal oxide semiconductor (DMOS) technologies onto the same chip to create high-voltage integrated circuits (ranging from 30 volts to 700 volts). Among their first products were high-voltage integrated circuits for motor controls and drivers for plasma flat-panel displays, which were invented at the UI.

Mark A. Tebbe, chairman and founder, Lante Corp., Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1983. He is honored for technological prowess and leadership in the computer industry and as a corporate executive. Tebbe’s inquisitiveness, talent, and energy, combined with his ability to recognize and seize opportunity in emerging technologies, keeps his company at the leading edge of the technology economy. Tebbe left Arthur Andersen to start Lante in 1984 with money borrowed from his credit card and a passion for microcomputers and networking. In the beginning, Lante was focused on PC networks, but the business evolved to client server applications and more recently to Internet systems integration and e-commerce. Lante has grown from a two-person operation in Chicago to a major public company with offices in 10 cities and more than 300 employees, many of whom are UI graduates.