Paul Rude and Tai-Wu Kao, two beloved electrical engineering professors, will retire at the end of the spring semester.
“I am going to miss the opportunity to work with the students most of all,” Rude said. “The best part of my job was watching freshmen transform until the day they graduate into young men and women who are going to transform the world.”
Paul Rude has been an electrical engineering professor at LMU since 1963 and has been an active participant on the LMU campus as well. Along with a fellow faculty member, Phil Dorin, professor of computer science and electrical engineering, Rude helped to develop the university’s computer science program and was instrumental in establishing the first computer laboratory for students and faculty. Also, he served as the chair of the electrical engineering department for 18 years and helped develop the master’s program in electrical engineering.
“The engineering department produces excellent graduates, and I am proud of all my students,” Rude said. “I hope that I have had an impact on my students, but I know that they have had an impact on me.”
One of Rude’s proudest accomplishments at LMU is the development of the Electrical Engineering Senior Design Course. The multi-disciplinary course aims to familiarize students with the design of large-scale projects and design management techniques in order to prepare them to compete in the real-world market place. Previous projects have included work on an environmentally friendly house, a robotic household aide for the physically-handicapped and a communication board for quadriplegics.
“The design course gives the students a broad perspective of design and a big-picture look at how things work,” Rude said. “It challenges them to get in touch with reality through solving real-life problems.”
Crimson pride runs deep in the Rude family. His six sons — Michael ’74, Patrick ’76, David ’79, Eric ’81, Gregory ’84 and Steven ’88 — and his granddaughter, Kelsey ’07, graduated from LMU. “There were no problems with them attending one of my classes at LMU. They treated me like I was a professor, and I treated them like they were my students,” Rude said.
Kao, who was hired by Rude, began his career at LMU in 1965. In addition to his responsibilities as a professor, he was involved in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the largest professional engineering society in the world, and was instrumental in having the local IEEE sections provide funding to the student branches on university campuses, including the LMU student chapter. He has served on many university committees and has been the faculty advisor to the Chinese club, the International Student’s Association, the IEEE student branch, and KXLU. In addition, Kao has published an average of one technical paper per year over his career. Many of these papers were coauthored with undergraduate or graduate students and published in the leading journals within electrical engineering.
“LMU is so friendly. It’s more like a family and not as much a working place,” Kao said. “I hope that I’ve taught my students to be confident in themselves, and to use common sense.”
More than 80 faculty, staff, family and friends attended the retirement party for Rude and Kao, which was held on Tuesday, April 15 in the Collins Center.
Photos by Glenn Cratty
Top right: Professor Paul Rude
Bottom left: Professor Tai-Wu Kao