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2020 Distinguished Alumni Award

For significant contributions in academia in the area of electrical engineering and applications of quantitative ultrasound imaging in biology, agriculture, and medicine.

William D. O'Brien, Jr.

William D. O'Brien, Jr.

BSEE '66, MS '68, PhD '70

Emeritus Faculty, Illinois ECE

Urbana, IL

William D. O’Brien, Jr. is the Donald Biggar Willet Professor Emeritus of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

After receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1970, he worked with the Bureau of Radiological Health of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for five years. Since 1975, he has been at the University of Illinois, where he retired in 2012 after a 37-year academic career; however, he is continuing active research and occasional teaching as the Donald Biggar Willet Professor Emeritus in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He was a professor of several departments. His research has focuses on the biological/therapeutic effects of ultrasound and applications of quantitative ultrasound imaging in biology, agriculture, and medicine. Sponsors of this research include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, and private corporations. He has been an NIH Diagnostic Radiology Study Section Member (1992-1996), the Director of NIH Radiation Biophysics and Bioengineering Oncology Training Program (1991-2001), and the Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois. He has published 431 peer-reviewed papers.

Further, he has mentored over 100 graduate students in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, theoretical and applied mechanics, biophysics, nutritional sciences, food science and human nutrition and nursing and about 30 post-doctoral fellows. He is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and a Fellow of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and a Founding Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. He has been the recipient of the IEEE Centennial Medal (1984), the AIUM Presidential Recognition Awards (1985 and 1992), the AIUM/WFUMB Pioneer Award (1988), the IEEE Outstanding Student Branch Counselor Award for Region 4 (1989), the AIUM Joseph H. Holmes Basic Science Pioneer Award (1993), the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society Distinguished Lecturer (1997-1998), the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society’s Achievement Award (1998), the IEEE Millennium Medal (2000), the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society’s Distinguished Service Award (2003), the AIUM William J. Fry Memorial Lecture Award (2007), and the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society’s Rayleigh Award (2008). He has served as President (1982-1983) of the IEEE Sonics and Ultrasonics Group (currently the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society), Editor-in-Chief (1984-2001) of the IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, and President (1988-1991) of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Current as of 2020.