O. Thomas and Martha S. Purl Scholarship

Established 1995

Tom Purl entered the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois in 1941. In March 1943 he entered the U. S. Army Air Corps Meteorological Program, served as a weather officer, and was discharged in September 1946. He returned to the University of Illinois and in January 1948 received a B.S. in General Engineering. He worked a year and a half for Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In September 1949 he returned to the University of Illinois Electrical Engineering Department. He received a B. S. in 1951, an M. S. in 1952, and a Ph. D. in 1955.

He was with Hughes Research Labs at Culver City, California, from 1955 to 1958; his last position was Head of the High-Power Traveling Wave Tube Section. In September 1958 Tom joined Watkins-Johnson Company at Palo Alto, California in the Devices Group, which is responsible for research, development, and manufacturing of electron devices and components. He has authored several technical publications and holds several patents in traveling wave tube technology.

He and his wife Martha live in Menlo Park, California. They have a son, Tom, and a daughter, Jeanne.


These scholarships are given by O. Thomas Purl and his wife Martha to recognize outstanding students in Electrical and Computer Engineering.


The recipients must be juniors or seniors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign enrolled in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the top 10% of their class. Creative and scientific leadership are also to be taken into consideration.

Selection Process:

In September the Department distributes scholarship data forms to students in the top 10% of the junior class and the top 10% of the senior class. The Scholarship Committee then reviews the scholarship data forms and identifies the students to receive the award.


The recipient(s) will be recognized at the annual spring ECE Awards and Recognition Banquet.

Past Recipients of the Award

Year Recipients
2020-2021 Wilson Zhu, Haimo Chen
2019-2020 Shudong Huang
2018-2019 Yanpei Tian, Hammer Chen
2017-2018 Mihir Iyer, Corey Snyder
2016-2017 Yijia Xu, Yi Zhu
2015-2016 Benjamin Eng, Matthew Vilim
2014-2015 Devasia Manuel, Conor Gardner, Ahmed Suhyl Sulaiman, Haolin Zheng
2013-2014 Boyu Li, Toros Arikan, Norman Lowrey
2012-2013 Xuanyu Zhong, Yuxiao Lu
2011-2012 Kirk Landin, Shuotao Xu
2010-2011 Michael Scholl, Xingqian Xu
2009-2010 David Ho, Christopher Li, Alejandro Lopez-Morales
2008-2009 Mengzhu Bai, Justin Czarnowski, Bryan Walker
2007-2008 Daniel Joe, Young Mo Kang
2006-2007 Hyun Boo, Daniel Quek, Jonathan Weissman
2005-2006 Srivatsan Jayaraman, Abhinauv Kapoor, Alan Xiang
2004-2005 Abhinauv Kapoor, Xiaoyu Ma, Toan Shing Shen
2003-2004 Victor Chen, Ameya Deoras, David Klempner, Kevin Mui, Ian Tan
2002-2003 Daniel Ayres, Christopher Gouveia, Margaret Hsu, Andrew Simnik, James Simon
2001-2002 Juichen Liang, I-Ju Liao, Diana K. Olarnvoravuth, David Pawlowski, Kapil Sachdeva, David J. Scherba
2000-2001 Matthew Berry, Frederick Koopmans, Osama Nayfeh, Michael Stall
1999-2000 J. Michael Stall, Samantha C. Sutton, Matthew M. Sztelle, Ashley K. Wise
1998-1999 Michael D. Horn, Shao Hsia, Jeffrey S. Kline, Robert J. Wheeler
1997-1998 Patrick R. Eaton, Brian R. Etscheid, Eric B. Midlock
1996-1997 Andrew M. Lowery
1995-1996 Matthew Trommer, Amit Dhawan