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John G. Truxal

Year: 
1991

John G. Truxal (February 19, 1924 - February 16, 2007) was an American control theorist and a Distinguished Teaching Professor, Emeritus at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Truxal was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is noted for his numerous contributions to control theory, for which he received the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award (1991). He moved to the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and became professor and chairman of the electrical engineering department there in 1957. Four years later, he was named vice president of the school, and held that position for 11 years.

John G. Truxal (IRE Student, 1947; Associate, 1948; Senior Member, 1954; and Fellow, 1959) received the 1974 IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Award "For pioneering the introduction of engineering concepts into the high-schools and for his outstanding textbooks and leadership in engineering education."

Truxal was born on 19 February 1924 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received the B.S. degree from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire in 1944, and the D.Sc. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950. Truxal entered college as an English major, but his experience as a Radar Officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II shifted his interests to engineering.

In 1950, Truxal joined the faculty of Purdue University. He remained here until 1954, when he joined the faculty of the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. New York. Truxal played several roles throughout his career at the Polytechnic. He subsequently served as professor, chair of the electrical engineering department, Vice President for educational development (Academic Affairs), Dean of Engineering, and Provost. During his time at Brooklyn Poly, he developed an innovative honors program. Under his guidance, the faculty of electrical engineering published a series of textbooks which paved the way in curriculum development at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He also pioneered one of the the first system-engineering programs in the U.S.

IN 1972, Truxal was named Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Four years later, in 1976, he returned to the classroom and the following year he was named Distinguished Teaching Professor. For nine years, he directed the National Coordinating Center for Curriculum Development. Truxal retired in 1991 but remains active within the Stony Brook community.

In addition to the Mulligan Medal, Truxal received numerous other awards including the ISA Education Award and the Westinghouse Award, among others. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, ISA, and AAAS. He has also served on committees for NASA and the National Science Foundation. Truxal received an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 1965.

Truxal was Chair of the American Automatic Control Council Theory Committee and Past Chair of the IRE Professional Group on Education. He was an IRE Fellow and a member of the IRE Editorial Board as well as the Administrative Committee of PGAC and PGE.

Truxal's hobbies include teaching, writing, reading, playing bridge, traveling, and ice skating.