With 47 years of experience in the electric utility transmission and distribution industry, his role as an IEEE Foundation Director, and his one hundred fifty published papers and articles, it may be hard to imagine John D. McDonald as an undergraduate student at Purdue University. Yet, in 1971, it was coed John who first joined both IEEE and the Power & Energy Society (PES), and was inducted into HKN, initiating vital relationships that have spanned five decades. Throughout these past 50 years, John has remained a steadfast supporter (both as a donor and as a volunteer) of IEEE and the IEEE Foundation. His unwavering and dedicated commitment of his time, talent and treasure nurtures the next generation of innovators and advances technology for the benefit of humanity.
In celebration of his 50 year anniversary as an IEEE and HKN member, John and his wife, Jo-Ann made two new and significant four-year pledges to the IEEE Foundation. The first gift, to the IEEE Power & Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative, will help promising students become successful practitioners in the field of power & energy. The second gift seeds the IEEE-HKN Student Chapter Support Program, which is scheduled to launch in March 2022 and designed to fuel the innovation and ingenuity of IEEE-HKN, its Chapters and its members. In recognition of the McDonald’s philanthropic spirit of giving back, they have been elevated to the Thomas A. Edison Circle (US$100,000 to US$149,000) of the IEEE Heritage Circle.
John says, “When I was inducted into HKN as a second year Electrical Engineering student at Purdue it gave me confidence that I was doing well in Electrical Engineering in a tough, competitive curriculum. This confidence has remained with me for more than 50 years since my induction on May 2, 1971. The PES Scholarship Plus Initiative has influenced many undergraduate Electrical Engineering students to take power engineering courses, and to have internships and co-op work sessions in the power and energy industry. Both IEEE PES and HKN have helped my career so significantly that Jo-Ann and I wanted to ‘give back’ to show our appreciation. I’ve been an IEEE member for more than 50 years, and Jo-Ann and I have been married 42 years, so Jo-Ann has been an important partner with me in IEEE.”
Throughout his years in the electric utility industry, John has pursued his passion for encouraging young people to become involved in power engineering. In 2011, John volunteered to participate in the scholar selection process of the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative, wherein he evaluated and scored applications in the first five years of the initiative from 2011 through 2015. He would have continued but he was term-limited after five years. “I was impressed with the quality of the student applications and encouraged that these motivated, exceptional students were the future of IEEE PES and our industry,” John explained.
John served on the IEEE PES Governing Board for 12 years, where he held elected positions as Secretary and President, He served on the IEEE Board of Directors as IEEE Division VII Director and the IEEE Standards Association Board of Governors. During the five decades John has been a part of the IEEE community, his generosity and commitment to the ideals of IEEE.