Jeff Shamma was formally recognized as the Jerry S. Dobrovolny Chair
November 15, 2022
On October 13, 2022, Jeff Shamma was formally recognized as the Jerry S. Dobrovolny Chair in a warm investiture ceremony attended by faculty, staff, and family.
Shamma joined the ISE faculty as professor and department head in January 2021, but the pandemic and other urgent matters caused the ceremony to be delayed until this year.
Speakers included Dean of The Grainger College of Engineering Rashid Bashir, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Designate William Bernhard, and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs for The Grainger College of Engineering Jonathan Makela.
Also present were Jerry Dobrovolny's children, James and Janet. Janet Dobrovolny gave a detailed speech that provided a touching overview of her father's legacy.
The Jerry S. Dobrovolny Chair was established in 2016 to continue Jerry's legacy at ISE. Jerry Dobrovolny received an MS in Mechanical Engineering in 1948, and secured an academic position in General Engineering Drawing, overseeing its transition to the Department of General engineering in 1953. Jerry served as General Engineering Department Head from 1959 to 1987. His achievements as Department Head are myriad. In 1960, Dobrovolny created a Summer Science Training Program (SSTP) for high school students that had finished their junior year. SSTP was a six-week summer institute of Illinois for 40 outstanding high school students. He launched the ISE Senior Engineering Program in 1961. This program was possibly the first senior engineering program ever implemented, since emulated by engineering schools across the country. In 1969, Dobrovolny started the first Minority Introduction to Engineering (MITE) program, a two-week program aimed at preparing minority high school students for college. MITE served as a model for colleges throughout the United States. Dobrovolny chaired a number of senate committees, including the Military Education Council, for seven years. From 1986 to 1992, he served on the NROTC Association of Schools and Colleges Executive Committee which advised the admiral overseeing the NROTC program. Throughout his career, he accumulated over 90 engineering awards.
Jeff Shamma received a PhD in Systems Science and Engineering from MIT in 1988. His research is in the areas of decision, control, and game theory. He is a Fellow of IEEE and IFAC; a recipient of the IFAC High Impact Paper Award, AACC Donald P. Eckman Award; and NSF Young Investigator Award; and a past Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Control Systems Society. He has been a plenary or semi-plenary speaker at several conferences, including NeurIPS, World Congress of the Game Theory Society, IEEE conference on Decision and Control, and the American Control Conference.
Jeff's prior academic appointments include faculty positions at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), where he is an Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was the Julian T. Hightower Chair in Systems and Controls.