Kendall Su, our treasured friend and colleague in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), passed away on October 26 after a brief hospitalization. He was 95 years old.
Su was a much admired and beloved educator and mentor in ECE and in the Georgia Tech community. He joined the electrical engineering faculty in 1954 and taught for 40 years until his retirement in 1994. He then taught for another 10 years as a “retired but working” faculty member.
Su received his bachelor’s degree in electrical and mechanical engineering from Xiamen University, China, in 1947 and then went to work as a junior engineer with the Taiwan Power Company in Taiwan, China. He then emigrated to the United States in 1948. Shortly after his arrival, Su began his graduate studies at Georgia Tech, earning his M.S.E.E. in 1949. He then entered the newly formed Ph.D. program in electrical engineering and became the School’s third Ph.D. graduate in 1954. While serving as a graduate teaching assistant, Su was offered a position as an assistant professor, which he started in the fall of 1954.
Su’s contributions to Georgia Tech were considerable, and without a doubt, he was the School’s first “homegrown scholar.” Su eventually achieved the highest academic rank of Regents Professor and was the first electrical engineering faculty member to be recognized with that title.
Su set the standard in teaching and scholarly publications and was the mainstay of the required undergraduate circuits courses. ECE alumni have described his courses as tough but fair. They credit Su’s toughness in the beginning electrical engineering courses for preparing them for the rigor that would follow, and eventually, for long, productive, and successful careers.
Su conducted research in active network synthesis, active filters, distributed-parameter networks, and electromagnetic compatibility. A Fellow of the IEEE, he was well-known for his pioneering work in active networks. Su was the author of four major textbooks that were widely admired by his colleagues at universities throughout the country. The texts included Active Network Synthesis (McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965); Time-Domain Synthesis of Linear Networks (Prentice-Hall Inc., 1971); Fundamentals of Circuits, Electronics, and Signal Analysis (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1978); and Handbook of Tables for Elliptic-Function Filters (Kluwer Publishing Co., 1990).
ECE Professors Emeriti Roger Webb and David Hertling wrote a story entitled “Kendall Su: The Standard for Excellence,” which was a tribute to him and his family. Su is survived by his wife, Jennifer; his daughter, Adrienne; and his son, Jonathan, who graduated with his Ph.D. in ECE from Georgia Tech in 1997.
An online memorial service for Su is scheduled for Saturday, November 20 at 3 pm EST. For specific details, please contact Jackie Nemeth at firstname.lastname@example.org. To honor Su’s memory, contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or to the Park Springs Foundation. Please join all of us in the ECE community in remembering the Su family in your thoughts and prayers in the days to come.
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Last revised November 12, 2021