Dullerud named Wilkins Professor
Geir E. Dullerud was honored March 14 at an investiture ceremony as a W. Grafton and Lillian B. Wilkins Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering.
“This means a great deal to me personally. I am both very pleased and very humbled to receive this,” Dullerud said. “I am tremendously grateful to the Wilkins family for their generosity. This is a very generous thing for a family to endow a professorship such as this.”
In his research, he has made fundamental research contributions in the development of theory and algorithms for systematic control system design and analysis that apply to a wide range of application domains within the mechanical engineering discipline. His achievements have been in the area of feedback control theory with major research results on: sampled-data systems where his work provides exact analysis techniques for addressing uncertainty in systems containing both physical processes and digital hardware; operator theoretic approaches to nonstationary deterministic system design; state space design methods for distributed systems; and hybrid switched system design.
An ASME Fellow, Dullerud serves as a reviewer for numerous journals in the field of controls as well as for NSF, AFOSR, and several international research councils and foundations. His book “A Course in Robust Control Theory: A Convex Approach,” which he co-authored with Fernando Paganini, has become a standard for graduate courses in several top universities. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in journals and conference proceedings and has given 40 lectures around the world. In addition to ASME, he is an active member of SIAM and a Fellow of IEEE.
Dullerud is a Willett Faculty Scholar in the MechSE Department. He is also a research professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory and an Affiliate in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The Wilkins Professorship
As an undergraduate in railroad engineering, Grafton Wilkins joined his fellow engineering students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s foundry, where he learned the art and science of precision casting of metal objects. The University of Illinois bookends that he and other students created in the 1920s still turn up on bookshelves from time to time. It may have been fond memories of his foundry experience that motivated him to endow the W. Grafton and Lillian B. Wilkins Professorship.
Born in Marissa, Illinois, Wilkins earned his B.S. in railroad engineering in 1929. An ingenious engineer and astute businessman, he served as president of Universal Castings Corporation in Chicago for many years. He married his wife, Lillian, a St. Louis native, in 1931. They spent most of their married life in La Grange, Illinois, where Mrs. Wilkins was active in civic and philanthropic activities. At one time, she was a member of the University of Illinois Foundation’s Laureate Circle.
Grafton Wilkins died in 1991, and Lillian passed away in 1996. The Wilkins Professorship was received as an estate gift in 1997.