Electrical engineering chair retires after more than 30 years of service

June 2012 By

After 34 years of dedicated service to the UM School of Engineering, Allen Glisson, chair and professor of electrical engineering, has decided to retire.

Glisson earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering, all from UM, in 1973, 1975 and 1978, respectively. He joined the faculty in 1978 as an assistant professor, rose to the rank of professor in 1989 and was appointed department chair in 2002.

"I have no real plans at the moment," Glisson said. "I enjoy what I am doing now, but I would like to find more time for research and possibly travel."

Reflecting on what brought him to the Ole Miss electrical engineering department from the small Mississippi town of Mendenhall, Glisson laughed and confessed that it was the space program of the late 1960s. He still remembers going to a friend's house to watch the moonwalk on a color television.

It was a giant step for a small-town boy to go from the back of a homemade cultivator adapted to plant rows of corn using a funnel-and-fingers technology (developed by his father) to a career in electromagnetic research.

"Things that don't make sense fascinate me," Glisson said, and sharing that fascination has been the hallmark of his teaching career. "Every time I teach a course, I also learn," he said.

While Glisson, admittedly, will not miss the paperwork, he said he will miss the interaction with students and faculty in uncovering the fascinating and making sense of it all. From his first encounter in 1969 with the department chair of the time, Chalmers Butler, Glisson has found an endless supply of "stuff to investigate."

As Glisson approaches retirement, he confesses to having thrown little away through his tenure at Ole Miss. He wants to use some of his new freedom to sort and plunder the treasures he has saved. He admits to a family history of "saving," counting a dozen relatives with a similar propensity. He plans to take up genealogy and said he will have no trouble finding the photos and letters to document a vivid story of growing up and finding fascination in Mississippi.

Glisson will be deeply missed in Anderson Hall and the engineering complex. He was three-time recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Member Award, the IEEE Memphis Section Outstanding Engineering Educator Award in 1998, the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award in 1989 and the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Microwave Prize in 2004.

Former students can keep track of their mentor by watching progress in the development and application of numerical techniques for electromagnetic problems and in the modeling of antennas. Glisson has published more than 300 scholarly works in these areas, been named as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and earned the title of fellow of the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society.