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John A. Dever Gift Creates Endowed Chair

Alan Sahakian will be the new John A. Dever Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Northwestern University electrical engineering alumnus John “Jack” A. Dever (’51) has made a generous gift to create an endowed chairmanship in the McCormick School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). Dever has also committed to a $2.5 million planned gift to fund two John A. Dever Graduate Fellowships in the department.

John A. Dever"This is the attainment of my long-standing goal to contribute to the further enhancement of the standing and reputation of EECS, in both research and teaching, with which I am proud to be associated," Dever said. "It's an investment in one of the most vital foundations of engineering, which is growing ever more important to our future, as well as a 'pay-it-forward' for the outstanding education Northwestern provided to me."

A retired Honeywell executive, Dever has been a longtime supporter of the department. He previously established the Henry and Isabelle Dever Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in honor of his parents, who were also alumni of the University. Professor Alok Choudhary currently holds this position. Dever is also a member of the McCormick Advisory Council and Walter P. Murphy Society in addition to the EECS Advisory Board.

“The explosion of mobile technology and applications has led to a surge of students interested in electrical engineering and computer science,” said McCormick Dean Julio M. Ottino. “With Jack’s continued support, we’ve been able to grow the program to meet this increased student demand. His legacy of giving is admirable, and his gift will ensure generations of technological leaders to come.”

Alan SahakianThe new John A. Dever Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science chairmanship has been awarded to EECS Chair Alan Sahakian. Sahakian’s research focuses on the intersection of engineered electronic systems and medicine. He works in cardiac electrophysiology—treating atrial fibrillation with automatic implanted devices—and uses millimeter-wave and photonic methods for medical and non-medical imaging and monitoring. More recently, he performed research in electroporation ablation therapy for liver cancer. 

Sahakian has received many teaching awards, including the Bette and Neison Harris Chair, Charles Deering McCormick Chair, McCormick Teacher of the Year award, McCormick Adviser of the Year award, and the Northwestern Alumni Association Teaching award. He has served as a resident scholar in the Center for Excellence in Reliability and Maintainability at the Air Force Institute of Technology. He served for several years as a distinguished lecturer of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and is a fellow of AIMBE and IEEE.

“I’m honored to be selected as the department’s first John A. Dever Professor,” Sahakian said. “Jack’s continued support has helped bolster McCormick’s reputation both nationally and internationally in the fields of electrical engineering and computer science. His latest investment will further add to this momentum and attract more bright minds to the field.”