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W.A. Richardson, (402) 391-1225
S.S. "Mani" Venkata, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
    (515) 294-3459
Tom Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4077
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa --Willard (W.A.) and Leitha Richardson, Omaha, have made a gift of $500,000 to endow a faculty professorship in electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering at Iowa State University.

The Willard and Leitha Richardson Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering will support the recruitment and retention of a world-class faculty member to the college's department of electrical and computer engineering.

"By endowing a professorship dedicated to electrical and computer engineering, the Richardsons have given Iowa State the opportunity to attract and retain a truly outstanding scholar in this area," said James Melsa, dean of the College of Engineering.

"Our goal is for this professorship to help Iowa State attract an excellent professor and keep that person at the university," W.A. Richardson said.

W.A. Richardson graduated from Iowa State in 1934, when the primary emphasis in the electrical engineering curriculum was focused on power engineering. Today, the department continues its long tradition of power engineering, but also has added new areas of expertise, including computer systems architecture, microelectronics and photonics, virtual reality, software systems and electromagnetics.

It is one of Iowa State's largest academic departments, with more than 1,400 undergraduate students and nearly 330 graduate students.

The Richardson's gift is part of Iowa State's Investing in People initiative, a two-year, $50 million effort of the university and the ISU Foundation to raise private funds for undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships and faculty support. The Richardsons have supported numerous other Iowa State programs, including National Merit Scholarships and Team PrISUm, the university's solar car project.

In 1937, W.A. Richardson began a 41-year career with HDR Inc., an architecture and engineering consulting firm headquartered in Omaha with 81 offices worldwide. He was named vice president, secretary and treasurer in 1946 and executive vice president and treasurer in 1950. He retired in 1977 as senior vice president and partner.

"By helping Iowa State recruit and retain outstanding faculty, Dr. and Mrs. Richardson will have a wonderful impact on hundreds of students far into the future," said Tom Mitchell, ISU Foundation president and CEO.

The gift, given via the ISU Foundation, will create a faculty endowment in which a percentage of the gift earnings are used annually for the position. Excess earnings are invested in the endowment principal, so the value of the fund can be expected to grow over time.

The Iowa State University Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to securing and managing gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University.


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