Charles R. Westgate was named Engineer of the Year by the Broome chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE). His nominators called him “a superb engineer, a capable academician and a quiet yet inspirational leader.”
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
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Charles R. Westgate, Bartle professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP), has been selected as Engineer of the Year by the Broome chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE). Former dean of the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, Westgate is the first engineer from Binghamton University to be selected for the honor since 2000. The award was presented at the organization’s annual dinner, held during National Engineers Week in February.
The NYSSPE, an organization of about 3,000 engineering professionals from all disciplines and employment sectors, advocates licensure, promotes ethical, competent and lawful engineering practice, and enhances the image and interests of its members and the engineering profession. James Shurtleff, treasurer of the Broome chapter, said the award is given to an engineer based upon professional achievements, support and activity in the nominating organization, service to the engineering profession and to the community as a whole, technical expertise, and support for students and young engineers.
Nominated for the honor by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Westgate holds a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and master’s and PhD degrees from Princeton University, all in electrical engineering. He joined Binghamton University as Watson School dean in 2001, after a distinguished career at Johns Hopkins University where he held joint appointments as professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and professor of Mechanical Engineering, was the William B. Kouwenhoven Professor of Electrical Engineering and held several administrative posts. He is now professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins.
A native of Johnson City, Westgate is a strong believer in the value of education and he credits his excellent education in the Binghamton school systems as a stepping stone to his success. “This was a great place to be growing up and to be a student,” he said. “I went on to college and achieved success in part because I was so well prepared.”
Westgate added that it’s an honor to receive the Engineer of the Year award, especially in his hometown. ” I’ve been involved with the professional engineering society since I came to Binghamton as dean and am in the company of some very distinguished individuals,” he said. “I’ve been at two universities and honored at both and both are very meaningful.”
Westgate’s nominators call him “a superb engineer, a capable academician and a quiet yet inspirational leader” who continues to teach.
His accomplishments are many. With research interests in microwaves and high speed devices and circuits, solid state electronics, electronic properties of semiconductors, solar cells and solar systems, he has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. He is a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
During his tenure as dean, the Watson School grew in enrollment, number of faculty and staff, sponsored research and scholarship, even as he continued to publish and teach. As dean, he was integral to an agreement with SUNY IT to help establish an engineering program there and still teaches an online electromagnetics program for them.
He has advised 39 doctoral students, and on March 1, celebrated 45 continuous years as a faculty member, first at Johns Hopkins and then at Binghamton.
The milestone is important to him.
“I like universities in general and I have a high regard for students,” he said. “I was always inspired by Martin Luther, who as a professor in Germany took his hat off when speaking to students out of respect for them. He believes he is teaching people who were going to eclipse him and believes strongly in preparing his students for success.”