Jerry Hogan BSGE 1959
I am a 1959 General Engineering graduate of the University of Illinois. While there I was president of the Society of General Engineers and also a Knight of St. Patrick’s. My professors and instructors included names like Harry Streeter, Jerry Dobrovolny, Randolph Hoelscher, and others. (I even baby-sat Jerry’s kids once!)
After graduation I immediately went into the US Army where I stayed for 20 years leaving as a Lieutenant Colonel, a member of the Army Green Berets, and a participant in the Vietnam War. I traveled the world and basically forgot the details of calculus, physics, chemistry, etc., but I did retain the thought processes taught in the GE program. While in the Army I was sent to the University of Arizona where I received an MS in Systems Engineering, and learned the skills of operations research, statistics, computer science, modeling, numerical analysis, etc. Again the thought process initially taught at Illinois was reinforced during the training at Arizona.
After leaving the Army, I became a VP in an IBM Company and then a VP in MCI Tele-communications. I renewed my association with the GE/IE Department during this period and was able to funnel some corporate money to the department. I had a good relationship with Tom Conroy and Howard Wakeland, gave a visiting lecture to one of the senior classes, hired several GE graduates, sponsored several of the senior engineering projects, and was named an Outstanding GE Graduate at one of your annual banquets.
I retired somewhat early as my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the early age of 47. She died and I remarried… but I had retired from industry and frankly was bored. I didn’t like the way the politicians were acting in the Texas county adjacent to Dallas where I lived, so, using the systems engineering approach, I decided I could fix the problems. I ran for County Judge and was elected and have just finished my 4-year term. Things in the county, according to expressions from the citizens, are significantly better.
You probably are asking why all this detail. I want to clearly explain that I have been a player ever since I graduated from High School and entered the U of I. I really liked the GE Department, the profs, and especially the thought process and discipline it took to be an engineer.
I have been successful… and a lot of that is the result of what I learned in your department, and then reinforced and expanded when I went on to get my master’s in systems engineering.
My reason for writing is to tell you how impressed I am with your Annual Report. In the 55 years since I graduated, I have never seen such a document from a University. It does a magnificent job of explaining the program, the success you are having, and the future you see coming down the road. (It also makes me wonder if I could have even graduated with the program and subjects now required. A Master’s in Financial Engineering…fantastic. Crowd sourcing…never even heard of it. WOW!!!) A great job! Thanks for sending it and I too am looking forward to the second Annual Report.
Please feel free to pass on these comments to Professor Nagi and his staff. In my opinion you all have it all together and I just wish I was a new freshman entering the Department today.
Jerry H. Hogan
GE Graduate in the Class of 1959