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Professor Emeritus Lawrence Henschen Passes Away

Henschen was a leader in designing and programming wireless sensor networks

Lawrence J. Henschen, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at Northwestern Engineering, passed away at age 78 on January 8, 2023. He will be remembered as a dedicated teacher, a prolific researcher, and a beloved member of the McCormick community.

Born October 11, 1944, Henschen joined the McCormick School of Engineering in 1971. He previously worked as a research assistant in computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees.

Lawrence J. HenschenAn author of more than 120 academic papers, Henschen was an expert in web-based programming for wireless sensor network nodes, visual interfaces for program development, energy harvesting, universal access in human-computer interaction, and automated reasoning with applications to heterogeneous databases. In 1979, he secured patent US-4178828-A for the Microcomputer Unit Organ Relay System.

“Larry was a dedicated faculty member with a warm heart, a sharp intellect, and a sly sense of humor. He will be dearly missed,” said Randall Berry, John A. Dever Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northwestern Engineering.

From 2000 to 2009, Henschen served as the associate dean of students at Northwestern’s The Graduate School. As the graduate director of EECS/ECE from 1989 to 2001, he was responsible for the department’s graduate curriculum, policy, and application process. From 1980 to 1996, Henschen was the chair of the Computer and Information Studies program at Northwestern’s Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences.

Henschen supervised 69 PhD students between 1975 and 2001. He earned multiple teaching accolades, including the McCormick TECH Teaching Award (1983), the Illinois Gamma Chapter of Tau Beta Pi outstanding teacher award (1984), and the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence award (2004). In 2012, The Graduate School bestowed Henschen with a faculty award for diversity in recognition of his contributions to an environment which values diverse backgrounds, approaches, and perspectives.

Henschen was a reviewer for the Journal of Symbolic Logic, the Journal of the ACM, and Computing Reviews. He also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Automated Reasoning (1985-2008), Mathematics of Artificial Intelligence (1988-1991), the Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence (1989-1995), and the International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering (1990-2009).

He is survived by Julia Chung Lee, his companion of more than 25 years. The interment is private.