501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701-3995
Phone: (605) 394-6082/2554 • Fax: (605) 394-6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2002
Contact: Steve Buchholz, Public Information Manager, 394-6082
Gift Funds Telecommunications Lab At Tech
A new laboratory at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will help professors and students conduct research that could influence the next waves of the telecommunications revolution.
A donation of more than $1.2 million from Tech alum Steven P. Miller made the lab possible. Miller will return to campus Friday, Nov. 22, to help dedicate the lab named in his honor. The Miller Lab, located in Tech’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, will be used for teaching and research related to applied electromagnetics.
The same donation created the faculty position occupied by Dr. Keith W. Whites. Whites, the Steven P. Miller Chair, has worked since August 2001 to establish a telecommunications focus in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Whites has secured more than $600,000 in outside funding to make that happen.
“The Miller Lab will allow Dr. Whites to conduct fundamental and applied research with a special emphasis in telecommunications,” Dr. Larry Simonson, chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, said. “The combination of the state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and Keith’s expertise has already greatly expanded our teaching and research capabilities.”
Miller and Tech officials will dedicate the lab at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22, in the Electrical Engineering and Physics Building Room 230. Tech invites the media to attend to see how the lab will allow Tech professors and students to make strides in the telecommunications field.
“The effort has enhanced our university’s ability to attract outstanding undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty,” Simonson said. “It will also allow South Dakota Tech form partnerships with economic development efforts in the creation of entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for engineering and science graduates.”
Whites is a South Dakota native. He graduated from Madison High School in Madison, received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tech in 1986, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to Tech, he taught and conducted research for ten years at the University of Kentucky.
Whites specializes in applied electromagnetics and wireless communications, and has won a number of governmental and industrial research grants and awards. In addition to research, Whites has developed two new courses in computational electromagnetics, as well as the new course, “Wireless Communications.” That class gives students the chance to learn the theoretical and practical intricacies of analog communication electronics. Whites has written and co-written two textbooks, “Introduction to Electromagnetic Fields” and “Visual Electromagnetics for Mathcad.”
“It is an honor to hold the Miller Chair,” Whites said. “Funding from the endowment has provided me the opportunity to focus efforts on cutting-edge research with current equipment technologies. Applying this knowledge in the classroom enhances our students’ academic growth and competitiveness in the job market.”
Steven P. Miller graduated from Tech in 1969 with an electrical engineering degree. He established Tech’s first-ever endowed chair, the Steven P. Miller Chair in Electrical Engineering, with a gift of more than $1.2 million in 1999. Miller grew up in Beresford and graduated from high school in 1965. After graduation, Miller married Kathleen L. Casey of Madison and went to work for Texas Instruments. During his nine-year tenure there, he held various engineering positions. In 1973, he became the manager of the Surface Acoustic Wave Device Engineering and Development Laboratory.
In the mid-1970s, Miller and three of his co-workers wrote a business plan to raise venture capital financing for a new company. Miller helped form a management team that succeeded in raising capital and formed Sawtek in 1978. Sawtek began producing SAW filters, devices that reduce noise and interference
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in wireless communications such as cell phones, cable television, wireless Internet, satellite communications, and others.
Throughout the eighties, Miller and his partners witnessed Sawtek grow as the market for its components exploded. With the advent of cellular phone technology, demand grew even more.
Miller served as president of Sawtek from its formation in 1978, chief executive officer from 1986, and chairman of the board from 1996. In September 1999, Miller retired but remained chairman. In 2001, Sawtek merged with TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. Miller has assumed a position on TriQuint’s nine-member board of directors.
“Kathy and I are pleased with the efforts and early results stemming from the endowment,” Miller said. “Keith Whites’ expertise has expanded the curriculum base of Tech in order to better educate the students, community, and region. We look forward to the benefits this technical expertise will provide.”
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.