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05-07-2016

James Svoboda Named Professor Emeritus at Clarkson University

Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering James A. Svoboda was named professor emeritus at Clarkson University's 123rd Commencement on May 7. He was honored for more than 37 years of exemplary service to the University.

James SvobodaExecutive officer for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department for more than 25 years, Svoboda is known as an outstanding scholar and educator. In the late 1980s, he was active in incorporating the personal computer into engineering programs at Clarkson, and was “quite involved” in making computers in campus the common tools they are today.

“Clarkson University was really a good place for me to be,” he notes. “We were the first academic institution to incorporate personal computers into our engineering program. Every student had a Z-100 computer so we were able to use them in our courses. It was a wonderful opportunity to think about how computers would change engineering education.”

Svoboda embraced computers and some may remember him from his appearance on a PBS show, “Computer Chronicles.” He wrote circuit analysis computer programs for students to use his classes, and he also wrote a client-server program to assign and grade homework online well before such programs became common.

In addition to numerous book chapters and articles for professional journals, he wrote a widely adopted 2014 textbook, Introduction to Electric Circuits, 9th ed. that has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese and Korean. He also wrote the textbook PSpice for Linear Circuits, 2nd ed., which was published in 2007.

Considering his writings and years of teaching, Svoboda has reached thousands of students. Additionally, he has mentored 16 master's degree students and two doctoral candidates. He taught courses in electric circuits, electronics, logic circuits, digital electronics, programming, signal processing and linear systems. He also developed and taught an online course in electric circuits.

He won various teaching awards, including Clarkson’s University-wide Distinguished Teaching Award. One less formal award especially stands out for him, though. The students a senior class in applied electronics students made a t-shirt commemorating the class.

He laughs, “That was my favorite award. That class was a lot of fun even though it was scheduled for 8 AM. The shirt referred to the class as 'Breakfast with 'boda.'”

Retirement offers the opportunity for Svoboda and his wife, Janet van Weringh, to do some long-awaited traveling. “I have a long list of things I wanted to do but just didn’t have the time. I'm starting to do them -- and whatever else seems interesting,” he says.

Svoboda received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute, and his master of science in electrical engineering degree from the University of Colorado. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/jsvoboda.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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