Magazine article ASEE Prism

Berkeley Mourns Its Dean

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Berkeley Mourns Its Dean

Article excerpt

RICHARD NEWTON, dean of the College of Engineering and the Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the pioneers in the field of electronic circuits and systems, died on Jan. 2, 2007 of pancreatic cancer.

"Most people have their strengths and weaknesses, but Richard could literally do it all," Berkeley colleague and friend Kurt Keutzer said. "I can't think of a single more talented individual. He had a brilliant technical career, a distinguished career as an entrepreneur, and then an equally distinguished career as a university administrator." He became very concerned with the application of technology for the betterment of humanity so he helped start the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), as well as an interdisciplinary project called Information and Communication Technology for Billions- "sort of a techno Peace Corps." A distraught Keutzer added, "The truly extraordinary thing was that, given all his talents, he wasn't focused on Richard Newton Incorporated. If he had concentrated on making money he could have done a lot better financially, but he actually wandered around saying 'How can we make the world a better place?'"

That interest was reflected in a commencement address in June 2002 at Del Mar Middle School in Tiburon, Calif. "The world I grew up in," he told his young audience, "the world your parents grew up in, was defined by what we called the Cold War-a world that was defined by boundaries and separation. Your world, on the other hand, is defined by connections-Who are you connected to and who can you collaborate with? Who are your friends? How can you help one another?"

A native of Australia, Newton earned a B.Eng. and M.Eng.Sci from the University of Melbourne, where he played Australian rules football semi-professionally, before completing a Ph. …

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