Two electrical engineering faculty members have been awarded endowed positions within the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering at South Dakota State University.
The addition of Junjian Qi and Tim Hansen brings to six the number of endowed positions in the college.
Endowed faculty receive a salary stipend and additional funding for their research. Endowed faculty positions have become a point of emphasis at SDSU because of the financial resources, prestige and stability they bring. They range from endowed positions for professors, chairs, and deans.
Qi and Hansen are both supported by the Harold C. Hohbach Endowment, which has supported an endowed faculty member since 2011 and has now grown to the point it can support two faculty members.
Qi arrived at SDSU Aug. 22 from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he researched electric power systems with an aim toward making the power grid more resilient and sustainable.
Qi received his doctorate in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University, China, in 2013 and then did postdoctoral studies at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, from 2013 to 2017.
“This endowment is one of the main reasons I selected to join SDSU, and I am honored to receive this recognition. SDSU has a long tradition of power systems studies and is full of great opportunities to grow and dream big. I am looking forward to contributing to this tradition by providing unique opportunities for students. This endowment is critical and will help me greatly to grow the program,” Qi said.
Hansen, an associate professor, has been at SDSU since 2015 and in 2019 became the first SDSU faculty member to be named Teacher of the Year by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional organization. In 2020, his alma mater, Milwaukee School of Engineering, named him Graduate of the Last Decade for significant accomplishments achieved at an early stage of his career.
Hansen’s research is focused on computer applications to electric power and energy systems and markets, applying high-performance computing concepts to solve large-scale societal problems.
His most recent award is a four-year, $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation called “STORM: Data-Driven Approaches for Secure Electric Grids in Communities Disproportionately Impacted by Climate Change.”
He is leading an SDSU group that includes seven other engineering faculty to create new tools and grow research infrastructure, leveraging data science to improve electrical grids and develop more resilient communities across the United States.
“It is my great honor to accept the Harold C. Hohbach Endowed Professorship,” Hansen said. “Since joining the department in August 2015, I saw firsthand the transition of the endowment from Dave Galipeau to Qiquan Qiao and finally to Reinaldo Tonkoski. The impact these three faculty members have made before me within the department, college and university using the prestigious name of Harold C. Hohbach has left a deep impact on me, and I will humbly continue this strong line of EECS leaders under the same endowed name.”
Harold C. Hohbach
Hohbach was a 1943 electrical engineering graduate and Palo Alto, California, patent attorney who died at his Atherton, California, home Dec. 28, 2017. He grew up in the Depression era, studying by kerosene light in the family’s Plankinton farmhouse. He remained loyal to his alma mater, even though most of his adult years were spent in Silicon Valley.
Hohbach spent his career in intellectual property, which included extensive litigation and obtaining patents for electronic, semiconductor and medical device fields throughout the world. He was also active in real estate in Palo Alto.
Hohbach was honored as an SDSU Distinguished Engineer in 2001.
Ceremony set for Sept. 21
Hansen and Qi, as well as at least eight other new endowment holders, will be recognized at the University Leadership Honors ceremony Sept. 21 at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.
An endowed position is the highest academic award that a university can bestow on a faculty member or academic leader, with the fund lasting as long as the university exists. It serves as an honor to the named holder of the appointment and an enduring tribute to the donor who establishes it.
The endowments at SDSU range from $1 million to $5 million and generate an annual flow of revenue that can be used to support the endowment holders’ area of responsibility—from funding graduate students to research support, equipment and travel.