Donald H. Willis Inducted into Innovation Hall of Fame

Donald H. Willis Inducted into Innovation Hall of Fame

Donald H. Willis Inducted into Innovation Hall of Fame

Donald H. Willis '62
Donald H. Willis '62

The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland inducted Donald H. Willis (‘62, electrical engineering) into its Innovation Hall of Fame (IHOF) on November 12. The ceremony was held in the Innovation Hall of Fame of the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building. Key Clark School administrators, faculty, past IHOF inductees, family and friends of Mr. Willis, and students of the College Park Academy, who are members of the Engineering For US All (E4USA) initiative, were in attendance at this annual event. 

Willis was honored for authoring a myriad of inventions that were applied to manufacture commercial television receivers that led the transition from analog television receivers into 21st-century digital television receivers. His inventions in the areas of picture-in-picture, deinterlacing, aspect ratio conversion, and motion-adaptive processing will live on past the expiration of the patents.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Willis graduated with high honors from UMD in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. That same year, he joined the RCA Corporation in Indianapolis, Indiana, as a circuit design engineer. At RCA, he worked on vacuum tube color TV sets and played a large role in the conversion of television sets to solid state circuitry.

While at RCA, Willis received his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1968. He was employed at RCA—which was acquired by General Electric and then by Thomson Multimedia—for more than 40 years before becoming an independent consultant in 2004.

Thomson Multimedia presented Willis with several awards for outstanding inventions used in the television industry. He is the only Thomson Inventor to ever receive a 100 Patents Award. He accumulated over 170 issued U.S. and European patents during his career, and his most recent patent was issued in 2016.

Major areas of impact of his work included the development of color TV receivers employing picture tubes, early development of VCRs, development of DVD players, Ferro resonant power supplies, and display development. His work contributed to the heavy and sustained innovation put to use by the electronics industry during this historic period, particularly for the conversions to solid state implementation and use of integrated circuits, the development of new displays, and new delivery using video compression.

The Innovation Hall of Fame recognizes Clark School alumni, faculty, and friends who have pioneered many of the most significant engineering advances in the past century. Every year since 1987, the Clark School has added a notable alumna/us to its Innovation Hall of Fame. Past Inductees include Charles H. Popenoe, inventor of SmartBolts; Robert Briskman,  the co-founder of Sirius Satellite Radio; George Laurer, inventor of the Universal Product Code; and Brian Hinman, the innovator behind the Polycom SoundStation conference call device.

Nominate an innovator for IHOF today.

Related Articles:
Behtash Babadi Wins Clark School's Junior Faculty Teaching Award
UMD Mourns Passing of Innovation Hall of Fame Inductee and Alumnus George J. Laurer, Inventor of the Modern Bar Code
Rama Chellappa Wins 2020 IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal
A New Space for Networking: The Juniper Networks Laboratory
Wu Awarded Harriett B. Rigas Award from the IEEE Education Society
ECE and CS Team up to Launch Master of Professional Studies in Machine Learning
Alumnus Lawrence Carin named Vice President for Research at Duke University
Liu Named Distinguished University Professor
Gomez Inducted into the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines
Alumnus Chance Glenn Sr. named new University of Houston-Victoria provost

November 21, 2019


Prev   Next

Current Headlines

Profesor Pecht Visits the World’s Largest E-Waste Recycling Facility

UMD Online Engineering Graduate Program Ranks 18th Nationally

Duncan Named 2020 CMBE Rising Star

Fisher to Receive 2020 Society for Biomaterials Award

New International Fire Safety Consortium Launched to Address Most Urgent Global Challenges

NCC-PDI, MedTech Innovator Accepting Pitches for 2020 Competition

2019 Research Wrap-up: MSE at UMD Ranked 18th among U.S. Universities by Nature

'Super' Simulations Offer Fresh Insight Into Serotonin Receptors

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar