In Memoriam: Ruey-Wen Liu, professor emeritus of electrical engineering


Frank M. Freimann Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering Ruey-Wen Liu passed away Saturday (Feb. 17) in Shanghai, China.


Liu was born on March 18, 1930, in Kiang-en, China. He came to the United States in 1951 and became a citizen in 1956. Liu earned his Bachelor of Science, master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Illinois. He began his 41-year career at the University of Notre Dame in 1960.


Anthony Michel, dean emeritus of the College of Engineering, recalls meeting Liu when he was a graduate student, and Liu was a new faculty member at the University: “He treated me with respect and kindness and was genuinely interested in my graduate work. We became close professional associates in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) Circuits and Systems Society. Because of his great qualities as a human being and a scholar, we also became close friends. He was honest and generous and you could always rely on him. His scholarly work was very original, and I have never met anyone who was more enthusiastic about research than Ruey-wen.”


Liu’s contribution to research and teaching encompassed circuits and systems, signal processing and communication. Even after his retirement in 2002, he continued working on research. Yih-Fang Huang, senior associate dean of education and undergraduate programs, describes Liu as “a great mentor and an inspiring teacher from whom I learned how to successfully absorb and convey complicated concepts.”


Liu was named a Frank M. Freimann Professor in 1989 and was an IEEE Life Fellow. He received several prestigious IEEE Society awards including the Meritorious Service Award (1998), the Golden Jubilee Medal (1999) and Technical Achievement Award (2001). He was also awarded from IEEE a Third Millennium Medal (2000) and the Mac Van Valkenburg Circuits and Systems Award (2007). The Humboldt Foundation awarded him the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Award in 1999.


Thomas Fuja, Department of Electrical Engineering chair, remembers Ruey-Wen’s exemplary contribution to the department: “He was a role model who showed young engineering professors in the 1960s and 1970s that research excellence was possible and celebrated at Notre Dame. He was a dedicated scholar who cared very deeply about the University, and his impact is still strong today.”


Liu is survived by his wife, Kitty, three children and five grandchildren.