Dr. Edward Willis Ernst

Dr. Edward Willis Ernst, 84, of Swansea, IL, born Thursday, August 28, 1924, in Great Falls, Montana, died Friday, November 14, 2008 in Rosewood Care Center, Swansea, IL.

Dr. Ernst, formerly of Urbana, Illinois, and Columbia, South Carolina, was Distinguished Professor Emeritus from both the University of Illinois and the University of South Carolina. Dr. Ernst spent his lifetime in engineering education investigating the nature, scope and direction of change evolving in engineering education.

Dr. Ernst was born on Aug. 28, 1924, in Great Falls, Montana. He received a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a member of the faculty in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois from 1958 until his retirement in 1989. He was Program Director for Undergraduate Engineering Education at the National Science Foundation from 1987-1990 and served as Allied Signal Professor of Engineering at the University of South Carolina from 1990-2000.

From 1977-1992, Dr. Ernst served ABET as Chair, Engineering Accreditation Commission (1985-86) and President (1989-90); was IEEE Vice President for Educational Activities during the 1981-82 academic year; was the founding Editor of the ASEE Journal of Engineering Education (1991-1996); and was a member and Vice-Chair of the International Engineering Consortium (IEC) Board of Directors. He was a Fellow of IEEE, AAAS, ASEE, ABET and IEC, and a member of Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu and Phi Kappa Phi. Other awards he received include the Halliburton Award for Leadership in Engineering Education (1983), the IEEE EAB Meritorious Achievement Award in Accreditation Activities (1985), the IEEE Education Society Achievement Award (1989), the Linton E. Grinter Distinguished Service Award from ABET (1992), the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Association (University of Illinois) in 1994, and the ASEE Recognition of Contributions as Editor of the Journal of Engineering Education (1996).

Vision without action is merely a dream.
Action without vision just passes the time.
Vision with action can change the world."
By Joel Barker

He is preceded in death by:

  • First Wife: Helen nee Todd Ernst
  • Second Wife: Margaret nee Reeder Ernst
  • Son: Thomas Ernst
  • Parents: Paul Wilson and Grace nee Woodmore Ernst
  • Brother: Gerald Paul Ernst
He is survived by:
  • Wife: Barbara nee Allen Ernst
  • Daughter: Deborah (Michael) Caddell of Oklahoma City, OK
  • Son: Alan (Jennifer) Reeder of Garland, TX
  • Daughter: Ruth (Jae Allen) Reeder of Swansea, IL
  • Daughter: Carol (Stuart) Pellish of Skokie, IL
  • Stepson: Stacey Moye of New York, NY
  • Brother: Col. Donald Ernst of Washington, DC
  • Grandchildren
    • Morgan Reeder
    • Joshua Orr
    • Jonathan Reeder
    • Zachary Pellish
    • Aaron Pellish
    • Amy Minton
    • Jeff Belcher
    • Meredith Johnson
    • Casey Caddell
    • Corey Caddell
  • 8 Great Grandchildren
Memorials: The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to St. Paul United Church of Christ, 115 West B Street, Belleville, Illinois 62220 or University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 West Green Street, MC-386 Urbana, IL 61801.

Memorial Service: A Memorial Service was held, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008, at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Belleville, Ill.

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