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William L. Everitt received his BS from Cornell University in 1922. After two years as an engineer for the North Electric Manufacturing Co., he returned to school and earned an M.S. degree at the University Michigan in 1926, and then earned a Ph.D. in physics at Ohio State University while serving as an assistant professor and professor. He came to the University of Illinois in 1945 as Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and became Dean of the College of Engineering in 1949. He served in that job until his retirement in 1968.
It was during his years at Ohio State that Dr. Everitt published the book "Communication Engineering," which became one of the most widely used textbooks in the field of electronics. He also wrote "Fundamentals of Radio" and edited a 96 book series for Prentice-Hall.
During his career, Dr. Everitt was elected to head each of the national and international professional societies pertinent to his discipline. He was a founding member of the National Academy of Engineering, received the highest medals and honors of a number of professionaly societies, and served as a senior advisor to many government agencies and to the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering.
The holder of 10 honorary doctorate degrees, Dr. Everitt received nearly every award the profession of electrical engineering and engineering education could bestow. He also received the War Department's Exceptionally Meritorious Civilian Award in 1946 in recognition of his work as director of the operation research staff for the U.S. Army's office of the chief signal officer during World War II. In 1984, the IEEE named him to its Centennial Hall of Fame as one of the top two electrical engineering educators of the century. Dr. Everitt died September 6, 1986.
In honor of Dean Everitt, the Electrical Engineering Building was renamed the William L. Everitt Laboratory for Electrical and Computer Engineering on November 12, 1989