William S. C. Chang

In Memoriam: William S. C. Chang, 1931-2015

April 25, 2015

William S.C. Chang, OSA Fellow and distinguished researcher and academic administrator, passed away on 25 April 2015. Professor Chang was an Emeritus member of The Optical Society, having been a member for 54 years.  He was 84.

Chang was born in Nantung, near Shanghai, China in 1931, and moved to the United States in 1948, where he pursued his study of electrical engineering.  He attended the University of Michigan for his undergraduate and graduate work and received a doctorate in electrical engineering at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Chang served at Stanford University from 1957 to 1959, Ohio State University from 1959 to 1965, and became professor and chair of the electrical engineering department at Washington University in St. Louis in 1965. He played an instrumental role in revitalizing that department, and in 1976 was named the Samuel C. Sachs Professor of Electrical Engineering.  In 1978, he was presented with the Distinguished Professional Achievement Award by the University of Michigan.  Much of his research focused on optical lasers and on projects meant to advance communications. He joined the UC San Diego faculty in 1979, when the university was in the process of moving away from applied physics to a heavy concentration in electronics -- reflecting the growth of the telecommunications industry. Chang served as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1993 to 1996. Thanks to the generosity of more than 70 of Chang’s students, colleagues, and personal friends, the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego created the William S. C. Chang Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering to honor Chang’s contributions.

Chang is survived by his wife, Margaret Chang, and by his son, Hugh, of Woodinville, WA, and by his two daughters, Helen Chang of Chicago and Hedy Chang of San Francisco.

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