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A Historical Partnership

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The IEEE Foundation looks back on a half-century of outstanding achievement this year and celebrates an enduring almost 45-year partnership with the IEEE History Center, which is committed to preserving, researching and promoting the history of information and electrical technologies.

Established in 1979 through the efforts of such advocates as Jim Brittain, Fred Terman, Robert Lucky, and others, and further strengthened by the leadership of Robert Friedel, who became the History Center’s first director in 1980. Over four decades later, and currently under the direction of Michael Geselowitz and the History Committee, the History Center continues to preserve the legacy of technology, its icons, the engineering profession, and IEEE itself through a wide array of unique and beneficial programming.

Through the years, the IEEE Foundation and IEEE History Center together with generous donors have collaborated on many landmark achievements that will positively impact the field of engineering for generations to come. Among those are the following:

  • The William and Joyce Middleton Electrical Engineering History Award — Established in 2014 by a gift from the estates of longtime IEEE leader William W. Middleton and his wife Joyce F. Middleton, this award, which carries a prize of US $2,000, recognizes the author of a book on the history of an IEEE-related technology published within the previous three years that both exemplifies exceptional scholarship and reaches beyond academic communities towards a broad public audience. Learn about the 2022 recipient.
  • REACH — Launched in December 2016 through the collaborative efforts of IEEE History Center Senior Director Michael Geselowitz and IEEE Foundation Directors Lyle Feisel and John Treichler, IEEE REACH (reach.ieee.org), which stands for Raising Engineering Awareness Through the Conduit of History, aims to bring the history of technology alive for students in the classroom through videos, hands-on-activities, multimedia offerings, and other engaging tools and resources.
  • IEEE Life Member History Fellowship — Created in 1977 as a collaboration between the IEEE Life Members and History Committees and funded by the IEEE Life Members Fund of the IEEE Foundation, the IEEE Life Member History Fellowship supports one year of full-time graduate work or one year of post-doctoral research for a scholar who has received their Ph.D. within the past four years in the history of IEEE designated fields.

LOOKING FORWARD

“As the IEEE Foundation commemorates its landmark 50th anniversary throughout 2023, we recognize the indelible contributions to our longevity and success that have been made by and with the IEEE History Center and celebrate our strong partnership and bright future together,” shared IEEE Foundation Executive Director Karen Galuchie.

With an ongoing focus on taking the History Center to new heights, the IEEE Foundation and IEEE History Center are working to raise $1 million to support a number of objectives, including increased use of the IEEE Oral History collection as a primary source for museums, authors, documentarians, news outlets, and technical papers, growth of the Center’s endowment to reduce reliance on annual activities and budgetary fluctuations, and strengthening of the Center’s ability to preserve and promote the history of technology and IEEE.

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