On October 18, ECE and Bioengineering Professor Rashid Bashir was one of two faculty members formally invested as an Abel Bliss Professor in the College of Engineering. Also receiving this distinction was Rob Rutenbar of the Department of Computer Science.
In his opening remarks, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and ECE Professor Ravi Iyer said, “It’s easy for people like Rob and people like Rashid to get awards and recognitions from people outside. It’s when you get that recognition from your peers at home—by far this is the most gratifying recognition that one receives.”
In introducing Bashir, Jimmy Hsia, professor of mechanical science and engineering, said, “Rashid has made far-reaching impact in the field, and significant impact on many people’s careers throughout the country and the world. So he is a most deserving person to receive this distinction.”
After College of Engineering Dean Ilesanmi Adesida presented him with the medallion signifying his status as a Bliss professor, Bashir gave a short speech in which he expressed his appreciation of his colleagues at Illinois as well as for the students he’s worked with. “That’s really the biggest pleasure and the greatest reward of this job—to work with all these students,” he said.
Bashir completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University in 1987. He received his master’s and PhD from Purdue University in 1989 and 1992, respectively. Upon graduation, he joined National Semiconductor, where he rose to senior engineering manager in the Analog/Mixed Signal Process Technology Development Group. He returned to Purdue University in 1998 as a professor of electrical and computer engineering and a courtesy professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.
In 2007, he joined the Illinois faculty in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bioengineering, and as director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. Bashir’s work focuses on developing micro- and nanotechnology-based solutions to solve biomedical problems for diagnostics, therapeutics, and tissue engineering. His current research interests include BioMEMS, lab on a chip, nano-biotechnology, interfacing biology and engineering from molecular to tissue scale, and applications of semiconductor fabrication to life sciences—all focused to solve problems in biology and medicine. His work has been licensed to and is the basis of two start-ups: BioVitesse, Inc. and Daktari Diagnostics.
A leader in his field, Bashir has authored or co-authored more than 110 journal papers and more than 140 conference papers and abstracts. He holds 34 patents. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and IEEE, and was named an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer for 2010–2011.
The Bliss Professor of Engineering is the result of a bequest from the late Helen Eva Bliss in memory of her father, Abel Bliss Jr. Miss Bliss graduated from the University of Illinois in 1911 with a degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Early in her career, she taught engineering at a Shreveport, Louisiana, high school, and later did clerical work with the Bureau of Aircraft Production in Washington, DC. From 1936 until her retirement in 1962, she worked for the Washington law firm of Ivins, Phillips & Barker as an executive secretary.
Her father, Abel Bliss Jr., entered the University in 1872 to study civil engineering, but was forced to leave the University before completing his degree. In June of 1874, the University granted him a partial certificate in civil engineering. His business ventures included agriculture and real estate, and by 1929, he was a partner in the land development and oil production company of Bliss & Wetherbee. Mr. Bliss died in the mid-1930s.
The generous Bliss bequest, established by Helen Eva Bliss in memory of Abel Bliss Jr., is used to advance scholarly activities in the College of Engineering.