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Engineering prof dies

John Prince
By Devin Walker
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 12, 2006
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Many UA students and faculty are mourning the death of an electrical and computer engineering professor who taught at the UA for more than 20 years.

John Luther Prince III died of heart failure Dec. 16 in Tucson. Prince began his tenure at the UA in 1983 as a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

He most often taught courses on electronic packaging and circuit design at the UA, as well, he was also the department's director of the center for electronic packaging research, an organization that builds high speed, reliable and quality computer chips.

"Dr. Prince's death is a huge loss for the department," said Jerzy Rozenblit, UA electrical and computer engineering department head. "On a more personal level, he was a charismatic guy that mentored many junior faculty members who are now researchers in their own right."

According to his students, Prince had a talent of applying humor within his academics to make his classes more active and allow an easier understanding.

"He can explain things very well from the very origin and let us understand them easily and grasp the new concept firmly," said past student Xing Wang, a Ph.D. student majoring in electrical engineering with an interconnect simulation focus. "He put focus on important knowledge and made his class concise and valuable."

According to Wang, Prince's classes, although often times strictly taught, were always very welcoming and well-structured.

"He is a person with tremendous integrity and will not compromise in academics," Wang said. "But he is very kind to us students. He encouraged me before our presentations and would say 'nice job' afterward."

Prince was the principal investigator of the Semiconductor Research Corporation, an association of the world's top research management universities, at the UA since 1984.

In 1991-1992 he became Acting Director of packaging services at SRC while continuing to bring substantial funding to the research program.

"He was really internationally acclaimed in electronic packaging," Rozenblit. said. "He had a strong personality and was well liked by many because of his sense of humor."

Prince's efforts with the department escalated the electronic packaging program to the likes of Cornell and Stanford Universities.

While at the UA, Prince spent time researching better methods for designing and delivering electronics and developed simulation techniques for mixed-signal system packaging.

Prince was considered one of the best in the field, Rozenblit said.

Prince was a member of Community of Hope Lutheran Church in Tucson, and was also involved with Alcoholics Anonymous for over 20 years.

He also spent time guiding inmates and former inmates in the convict to civilian transition.

Among many of his other contributions Prince authored or co-authored over 200 papers in the field of electronic packaging. He wrote over 30 papers in the fields of device physics, process development and reliability as well.

Prince received his degree from Southern Methodist University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and received his M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University.

"I would say that Dr. Prince is not only my advisor, but also a mentor in my life," said Bing Zhong, a Ph.D. student of the center for electronic packaging research. "I will always remember him as my best teacher with integrity, enthusiasm and wisdom."

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