The Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award was established by the Faculty of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University in 1966 to honor engineering graduates who have been recognized for outstanding achievements in:
- planning and direction of engineering work
- fostering professional development of young engineers
- contributing to knowledge in the field of engineering or
- bringing, in other ways, distinction to the University through engineering achievement
These engineering graduates have received an undergraduate and/or graduate degree from the College of Engineering. Nominations for this prestigious award come from members of the Engineering faculty, and a vote by faculty representatives determines the recipients of the award. Announcement of the annual awards is made by the Dean of Engineering at the Awards Banquet during Alumni Weekend. The recipient is presented a bronze medallion and engraved certificate. In addition, each outstanding engineer’s portrait hangs in Page Hall in a gallery dedicated to recipients of the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award.
John S. Mayo
Awarded in 1977
The distinguished career of this outstanding alumnus is marked with significant contributions to the development of electronics. He joined Bell Laboratories in 1955, where he worked on early computers, including the TRADIC and Leprechaun, the Telstar satellite, ocean sonar systems, and various switching systems. he held several key positions and became Vice President of Electronics Technology in 1975 before becoming the company's seventh president in 1991. Credited with globalizing Bell Labs and forging closer ties between its research and development and its business units, he served in that role until his retirement in 1995.
He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State in 1952, 1953, and 1955, respectively.
Notable among his career achievements are his work on the command decoder and switching unit for the Telstar Communications Satellite and his involvement in developing methods for transmitting picturephone signals. As the executive of the Ocean Systems Division during 1971-1973, he directed the development of electronic systems for use in the ocean. As Executive Director of the Toll Electronic Switching Division during 1973-75, he was responsible for the first electronic system to switch long distance telephone calls. Among his current responsibilities is that of directing the design and development of efficient, low-cost, high-reliability electronics components and associated technologies for use in the telecommunications industry. He holds 12 patents and is the author of numerous technical papers.
Paul E. Green
Awarded in 1983
This distinguished engineer earned his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1948. He is Staff Member of the International Business Machines Corporation’s Corporate Technical Committee, and his major interests are centered on speech and signal processing, network performance modeling, decentralized network architectures and protocols, and fault monitoring in large computer networks.
Prior to joining IBM in 1969, he was on the staff of the Lincoln Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This outstanding electrical engineer has made major contributions to a number of communications and radar innovations. He co-invented and developed the RAKE anti-multipath technique, performed early radar studies of Venus, and invented planetary range-Doppler mapping. He also led the Laboratory’s development of an experimental Large Aperture Seismic Array.
A Fellow of the American Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, he has served as Chairman of the IEEE Information Theory Group. He is recipient of the 1980 Aerospace Pioneer Award. He was honored in 1981 with election to the National Academy of Engineering.
William F. Troxler
Awarded in 1985
William F. Troxler is a native North Carolinian who attended North Carolina State University on the GI Bill after serving in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII. He received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1952.
Following his graduation, he worked for the U.S. Army Research Command in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. It was here that he realized there was a great need for sophisticated testing equipment in the post war economic boom. He returned to Raleigh and after doing some post graduate work in electrical engineering, he started his own company. Beginning in the basement of his home in Raleigh, he pioneered the development and production of the nuclear testing and measuring devices used in the construction and agricultural industries. He also designed special devices for NASA, which were used in the first scientific satellites launched in the early 1960’s.
Under his direction, the company, Troxler Electronic Laboratories, Inc. grew from a one-man basement operation to its present size of 110,000 square feet and approximately 86 full-time employees. In addition to this facility, which is located in the Research Triangle Park, Troxler has offices in Germany, China, Canada and seven other U.S. cities.
Since the inception of his company in 1956, Mr. Troxler has been involved in innumerable activities and organizations in his industry and his community.
His past affiliations include: The Transportation Research Board, the American Society of Testing Materials, International Road Federation Board of Directors, Construction Industry Manufacturers Association, General Chairman International Conference on Industrial Radiation and Radioisotope Measurement Applications, National Research Council, Civil Engineering Research Foundation, Senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Governor’s Task Force on Science and Technology, Highway Innovation Steering Committee, Chairman of the North Carolina State University Engineering Advisory Council, President of the North Carolina World Trade Association – 1971-1972.
His awards include: 1985 Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award for North Carolina State University, 1972 President’s “E” Award for Outstanding Contribution to Export Expansion, 1981 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting, Honor society of Phi Kappa Phi for outstanding engineering accomplishments.
Kent B. Foster
Awarded in 1993
This outstanding alumnus earned his bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from this university in 1965. He received his master’s degree in Management from the University of Southern California in 1969.
In 1989, he was elected President of GTE Telephone Operations. This is the largest business unit in GTE, with approximately 128,000 employees worldwide and with 1991 revenues of almost $16 billion. GTE is the largest local telephone company based in the United States, serving more than 20 million access lines in portions of 40 states, as well as in British Columbia, Quebec, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.
He is a member of the GTE Board of Directors and the GTE Policy Committee. He also serves on a number of additional boards of directors at telephone companies worldwide. His outstanding achievements not only bring honor and credit to this university, but they also serve as an example of excellence to our present and future students.
Darrell V. Menscer
Awarded in 1997
A dedicated NC State alumnus, this outstanding 1960 electrical engineering graduate of NC State retired as President and Chief Operating Officer of PSI Energy in 1990. After distinguished service in the US Air Force from 1952 to 1956, he began his career with Carolina Power and Light Company in 1960. In 1980 he left his post as Senior Vice President of Power Supply at CP&L to work with PSI Energy Inc. in Plainfield, IN, as president and chief operating officer and to serve as a member of the board of directors of PSI Resources Inc.
He was appointed a member of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Research Advisory Committee, the major policy-setting body for electric power engineering research and development in the US.
A leader of volunteerism at NC State, he has served as chair of the NC State Foundation Board, NC Engineering Foundation Board, the College of Engineering Advisory Board, the Century II Campaign Committee and the Executive Committee of the NC State Development Board. An avid Wolfpack fan, he is a member of the Wolfpack Club and participates in the Alumni Adopt-A-Scholar Program. He is a Caldwell Scholarship benefactor and a member of the Leonidas Polk Lifetime Giving Society and the Chancellor’s Circle. Menscer was the recipient of the Menscer Cup in 1997, the NC State College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus award in 1997, and the NC State Watauga Medal in 2001.
E. James Angelo
Awarded in 1998
This outstanding alumnus received his BS degree in electrical engineering from NC State in 1939. After graduation, he worked for Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company in Louisville, Kentucky. He reentered academe in 1941 as an instructor and later an assistant professor at Tulane University in New Orleans. In 1947, he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an instructor and graduate student and received his SM and ScD degrees in 1949 and 1952 respectively. After serving as assistant professor at MIT for one year, he accepted an associate professor position in 1953 at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and was promoted to full professor in 1957.
While at the Polytechnic Institute, he served as a visiting lecturer in electronics at Cairo University and Ain Shams University in Egypt for a year as part of a Fulbright Commission Assignment. In 1968, he returned to industry, taking a position with Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey. He is the author of three textbooks. His Electronic Circuits textbook is used worldwide and is one of the most popular texts of its kind in print.
Larry K. Monteith
Awarded in 1999
After four years as an aviation electronics technician in the United States Navy, Larry K. Monteith enrolled in North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering in 1956 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1960. After graduation, he was employed by Bell Telephone Laboratory and gained limited experience from productions of military ground to air missiles and the Telstar communication satellite while enrolled at Duke University and graduating with a Master of Science degree in 1962. Monteith then worked for the developing Solid-state Micro-electronics division of the Research Triangle Institute and established programs supported by NASA before graduating from Duke with a PhD in 1965. He then joined the faculty at the renowned North Carolina State University at Raleigh in 1968 as an associate professor in the Solid State Micro-electronics division of the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Monteith was active in developing research, graduate program, teaching and extension programs when appointed in 1974 as head of the department and then in 1978 as the dean of engineering. After a decade as a dean, Monteith accepted the position of interim and then chancellor in 1988 and 1989 before retiring in 1998 after thirty years of service when the efforts of faculty throughout the entire university improved undergraduate, graduate, research and centennial campus programs that resulted in substantial growth and prominence for the institution.
From my experience, successes seem to be personal achievements from your innovations and motivations with education from others where required.
Joseph S. Colson, Jr.
Awarded in 2001
Joseph S. Colson, Jr. earned his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University in 1968 and his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1969.
He began his career with Bell Laboratories and served in numerous positions until becoming president of the AT&T Affiliates sales division.
He was one of the founding leaders of Lucent Technologies, ultimately serving as president of International Regions and Professional Services until his retirement in 1998. Under his leadership, Lucent became one of the leaders of the industry.
He has remained active in engineering at NC State and serves on the Board of Directors of the NC State Engineering Foundation. He made a significant contribution to the College by establishing the Dr. Joseph S. Colson Engineering Scholarship in his father’s memory. He has received numerous honors, including an honorary doctorate of humanities from North Carolina A&T State University and honors from Black Enterprise magazine and Black Engineer magazine for his professional achievements.
Thomas R. McPherson, Jr.
Awarded in 2004
Thomas R. McPherson Jr. is a successful entrepreneur who founded and led several successful high-tech companies. These efforts resulted in one IPO and two mergers. He held executive positions at Hughes Network Systems, Bay Networks and Nortel. Tom currently serves on several boards while pursuing his interest in golf, aviation and international travel.
McPherson played a leadership role in successfully establishing companies such as Picture Element Limited, Network Equipment Technologies, Rapid City Communications, Hatteras Networks, Inc., and most recently as CEO of Cognio, Inc., which was sold to Cisco.
McPherson is a 2004 Distinguished Engineering Alumnus and served as the first chairman of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program Advisory Committee. He has also delivered NC State’s Entrepreneurs’ Lecture. He established the McPherson Family Distinguished Professorship in support of Engineering Entrepreneurship.
In addition to earning his BS EE and MS EE from the NC State College of Engineering, he received his BS in physics from Davidson College and his Engineer’s Degree from George Washington University.
McPherson resides in North Carolina with his wife Kathy where they enjoy a view of the renown Pinehurst No. 2. He is Chairman of the Given Tufts in Pinehurst and serves on the NC State Engineering Foundation as immediate past President.
J. Turner Whitted
Awarded in 2005
Turner Whitted joined NVIDIA in 2014 after 15 years at Microsoft Research where he founded the hardware devices group and managed the graphics group along with a variety of other groups devoted to HCI. He was a co-inventor of the signal processing algorithm for ClearTypeTM. He co-founded Numerical Design Limited in 1983 and served as president and technical director until 1996. Earlier, as a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories, he introduced recursive ray tracing as an implementation of global illumination. In his early career he designed digital test equipment, antenna measurement systems, and components of a sonar signal processor.
He earned BSE and MS degrees from Duke University and a PhD from North Carolina State University, all in electrical engineering. He is an adjunct research professor of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina and adjunct professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University. In the past he has served on the editorial boards of IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications and ACM Transactions on Graphics, was papers chair for SIGGRAPH 97, and served on the SIGGRAPH executive committee. In 2005 he was named a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus by North Carolina State University and in 2013 received ACM SIGGRAPH’s Steven A. Coons Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an ACM Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Awarded in 2008
As Executive Chairman at ChannelAdvisor, Scot Wingo sets the strategic direction for the company, and works closely with the management team to align product direction with market trends. Scot is an industry thought leader, contributing regularly to several ChannelAdvisor blogs and speaking often at industry events.
Scot received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Computer Engineering degree from North Carolina State University. Scot has received numerous awards including Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and Triangle Business Journal’s Businessperson of the Year.
My advice to students today: Success is a series of choices that are entirely in your hands. Don’t accept the status quo. Instead, take the unconventional path and "May the force be with you!
William H. Dean
Awarded in 2011
William H. Dean is the Chief Executive Officer of M.C. Dean, the nation’s expert provider of electronic systems integration and electrical and telecommunications systems engineering, specialty construction, and operations and maintenance. With a staff of more than 3,500, the firm has a reputation for excellence and expertise resultant from its large contingent of engineers and technicians, many of whom are recognized industry experts. M.C. Dean has a global presence, having performed work on five continents and over 40 countries from its 25 offices in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.
Under Dean’s leadership, M.C. Dean has grown twentyfold in annual revenues. More than 95% of this growth has been organic, the result of the firms outstanding, long term staff and its focus on the retention and development of existing clients and the expansion of service offerings within its core electrical, telecommunications, and electronic systems market. Today, M.C. Dean specializes in the lifecycle delivery of a diverse range of multi-disciplined technical solutions, from VSAT IP satellite networks, to command and control systems, to fiber to the home (FTTH) networks, and to mission critical power systems.
Dean is actively involved in numerous industry organizations including the Design-Build Institute of America, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI), and the American Society of Industrial Security. He has a leadership role on a variety of boards and councils related to technical education, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. Among these are the D.C. Workforce Investment Council, the D.C Apprenticeship Council and he served on the 2010 Board of the Washington Airports Task Force. Mr. Dean is also a periodic guest lecturer at Georgetown University.
Dean holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from NC State University.
Irwin R. Holmes
Awarded in 2014
Irwin R. Holmes Jr. received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University in 1960. He was the first African-American to receive an undergraduate degree from the university. He went on to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Drexel University.
After graduation from NC State, Holmes worked for several companies before taking a position with IBM, where he worked for 19 years until his retirement. As a senior manager of computer development at IBM, he earned two patents and was a key member of the task force that led to the development of the IBM PC product line. Holmes has also been an entrepreneur and he developed a shopping center in Durham, NC, started a gourmet restaurant, and developed other real estate ventures.
As one of a handful of African-American students who took those first bold steps to desegregate universities in the South, Holmes helped open the doors to generations of students to come and ensure that they had access to higher education. Holmes was a scholar and had high academic achievement. He was inducted into the electrical engineering honor society, Eta Kappa Nu, in his junior year. He was also an athlete and ran track, played intramural basketball and varsity tennis. Holmes was the first athlete to integrate the Atlantic Coast Conference and in his senior year he was made co-captain of the tennis team.
Holmes has stayed involved with the university, supporting the NC State Engineering Foundation and the university’s Minority Engineering Programs. The Irwin Holmes and Black Alumni Society Conference Room on the Centennial Campus was named in his honor.