Alex Stanković Named Alvin H. Howell Professor in Electrical
He was a pioneer nobody heard of.
Alvin Howell was a Tufts engineering professor who led the first
team to send an unmanned balloon around the world. Yet when the
400-foot-tall balloon made its round-the-world flight in 1957, no
one could say anything publicly: the flight, funded by the Air Force
to gather intelligence on the Soviet Union, was strictly hush-hush.
"I had a top-secret clearance, and you keep your trap shut," Howell,
who died six years ago at the age of 96, told a newspaper in 2002.
Tufts' School of Engineering today notes with pride the remarkable
achievements of the man who chaired the electrical engineering
department from 1941 to 1970, and in whose memory the Alvin H.
Howell Endowed Professorship in Electrical Engineering has been
Aleksandar Stanković, whose research on
electric energy processing has applications for power systems,
has been named the inaugural Howell Professor in Electrical
Engineering. Credit: Tufts Photo
Recently named the inaugural Howell Professor in Electrical
Engineering is Aleksandar Stanković, whose research on electric
energy processing has applications for power systems. He recently
received an award from the National Science Foundation to improve
the containment of complex system-wide events such as blackouts.
Stanković, formerly Distinguished Professor at Northeastern, is the
author of more than 200 refereed journals and conference papers, and
holds seven patents. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering
and computer science from MIT after earning his master's and
bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of
Belgrade in Yugoslavia.
"Professor Stanković's reputation and leadership will be a
tremendous asset to the school's strategic focus on energy and
environmental sustainability," says Linda M. Abriola, dean of the
School of Engineering. "Creating sustainable solutions to global
problems, such as the world's energy crisis, requires leaders who
can develop collaborative research programs that cross traditional
"I was particularly attracted to Tufts engineering because of the
many interdisciplinary research and education opportunities afforded
by the school's close connection with the School of Arts and
Sciences and the Fletcher School," says Stanković. "I'm eager to
begin research programs with my colleagues in sustainability and to
develop new courses that will educate the next generation of
The Alvin H. Howell Endowed Professorship in Electrical Engineering
was established with support from a charitable gift by the late
Frank Doble, E1911, founder of Doble Engineering. Professor Howell
helped foster a longstanding relationship between the university and
Doble Engineering, which he served for many years as a director and
chairman of the board. Doble's estate plan yielded $136 million to
Tufts, the largest individual gift in university history.
[This story appeared in the
2010 Tufts' Blueprint magazine.]