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Harold L. Olesen Undergraduate Teaching Award*

Established 1978

Harold L. Olesen

Harold L. Olesen graduated from the University of Illinois in 1918 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and maintained an active interest in the University throughout his lifetime. After serving his country in World War I, he joined Pan American Marconi Company. Later, he became associated with Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation in Newark, New Jersey and retired as general sales manager in 1951. He was also an inventor and earned a number of patents.

Mr. Olesen was presented with the University of Illinois Alumni Association's Loyalty Award in 1969. He received the first Distinguished Alumnus Award ever to be presented by the University of Illinois Department of Electrical Engineering in 1970.

Mr. Olesen had an abiding interest in the continued improvement of undergraduate education at UIUC. For that purpose he established the Harold L. Olesen Fund for Undergraduate Instruction Improvement. In making the bequest, Mr. Olesen asked that the fund be used "for course improvement, including development of curriculum and upgrading personnel and equipment, primarily at the undergraduate level."

Mr. Olesen died in 1976.


The award is made each semester to a graduate student or students teaching in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to recognize an outstanding effort in undergraduate teaching. The award was set up as part of the Harold L. Olesen Fund for Undergraduate Instruction Improvement.


Graduate Teaching Assistants and Instructors who are graduate students teaching electrical and computer engineering classes or laboratory sections or are otherwise involved in direct instruction at the undergraduate level are eligible for this award. They should be judged by the following:

  1. You must be a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, enrolled in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  2. Motivation of the student to learn
  3. Enthusiasm for the subject and for teaching
  4. Organization of teaching materials to enhance learning; the guidance and encouragement this gives to further learning
  5. Providing additional organized opportunities for learning
  6. Assistance and guidance given to the individual student to help resolve questions and problems


Nominations for the award are to be solicited from undergraduate students in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Upon receipt of nominations, rating forms are distributed to all of the students in the nominee's class. The nomination letters and rating forms are reviewed by a committee comprised of the Student Advisory Committee and the Teaching Evaluation and Awards Committee. This combined committee selects the award recipient.

Past Recipients of the Award

Year Recipient
2019 Mihir Vishwanath Iyer, Michael Jame Silkaitis, Yamuna Dilip Phal, Shivang, Umur Darbaz, Corey Ethan Snyder, Lonna Edwards
2018 Dario Aranguiz, Benjamin Eng, Byung Hoon Min, Sakshi Srivastava, Elias Wilken-Resman
2017 Sara Bahramianparchekoohi, Jacob Bryan, Matt Peretic, Michael Wei
2016 Xu Chen, William Goldshlag, Peter Kairouz
2014 Leslie Hwang, Brian Harding
2013 Yun Han, Jerry Yang
2012 Nathan Jack, Michael Jo
2011 Daniel Manjarres, Luke Pfister, Michael Rogers
2010 Patrick Goh, Pablo Reyes
2009 Nady Obeid, Alan Gostin, Bryce Lobdell
2008 Shaun Armstrong, Chad Carlson
2007 Idan Lupinsky, Geoffrey Herman
2006 Uttam Reddy, Alex Spektor, Marco Amrhein
2005 John King, Joe Meier
2004 Andrea Mitofsky, Jonathan Holm
2003 Andrew Ranck, Kyle Jones
2002 Eric Dunn, Bradley Griffis
2001 Jeffrey Feng, Julio Urbina
2000 James Geis, Jiunn Benjamin Heng
1999 Karen Coperich, Andrew Smolik, Peter Leven
1998 Jacob Janovetz, Jay Moorman, Shashi Jain, Mika Palac
1997 Shamik Mukherjee, Kevin Squire, Mike Tompkins
1996 Adam Miller, Michael Kramer
1995 Eric Meidel, Dan Scherrer, Daniel Connors, Rajeev Goel
1994 John Belmonte, Jay Kruse, Byron Truax
1993 Tony Curtis, Michael Hartig, Hem Satsangi
1992 Dane Dwyer, Kevin Lee, Rob Spence
1991 Allen Hanson, Tim Peck, Jeff Schiano