Alwan Engineering Scholarship

Established 2013

Basil H. Alwan (BSCompE '84) established this scholarship because he felt the path he took through ECE ILLINOIS was important to his professional success, and he wanted others to have the same good fortune.

He grew up near Sycamore, Ill., where he and his brother were both interested in math, science, and activities like fixing tractors and cars on their family’s small farm. They also learned about wiring, starting around home, then tackling bigger projects. They learned about personal computing systems in high school.

As a young man, Alwan dreamed about starting his own company, and he believes that dream led to many small decisions that paved his way.

He found he made rapid progress toward his goals at the University of Illinois, and started his career at semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices. He worked there nearly 12 years, eventually focusing on the area of Internet protocol and networking, and realized the field would rapidly expand.

Following that, he went to work for a startup called Rapid City Communications, as vice president of product management and marketing. The company built one of the first hardware-based routers, called the Layer 3 Switch. Within a year of his joining the company, it was sold for $150 million to Bay Networks.

Alwan worked there for a few years before leaving to start his own company, TiMetra. He and those he worked with defined a new product called a service router, and decided to challenge industry leaders Cisco and Juniper directly.

They raised about $50 million in venture and corporate funding, but by 2003, faced a challenging market. Fortunately, they were building a marketable product, and managed the team carefully. Alwan and those he worked with sold TiMetra to Alcatel (which later merged with Lucent to form ALU) for $152 million. Alwan eventually became the president of IP Routing and Transport there.

Selection Process :

Given as a freshman recruiting scholarship.


Last year, ECE ILLINOIS awarded two $2,500 scholarships. The recipient is recognized at the annual ECE Awards Banquet in April.

Past Recipients of the Award:

Year Recipients
2016-2017 Christina Ernst
2015-2016 Christina Ernst
2014-2015 Joshua Lew
2013-2014 Naphat Lertratanakul, Olivia Mitchell