about

Everitt Lab

In 2018, historic Everitt Laboratory became the home to Bioengineering after a $55 million renovation. As the centralized hub for the Department of Bioengineering, it is the space where we are training the next generation of healthcare innovators and leaders, conducting research to help improve the human condition, and serving as the conduit for multidisciplinary research collaborations that promise to transform medicine.

Renovated Everitt Lab provides modern instructional and research facilities for learning, creating and innovating thanks to the Grainger Foundation, which provided a $20 million lead gift through its Grainger Breakthroughs Initiative. Jump Trading provided a $10 million gift to establish the Jump Simulation Center in Everitt Lab, which is part of the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

The department welcomes additional support from alumni and friends, who are encouraged to contribute to the renovation fund.

 

Spaces in Everitt Lab

More than 1,200 students and faculty from Engineering and other disciplines across campus learn, teach or work in Everitt Lab on any given day.

For more details on Everitt Lab, download the booklet at: bioengineering.illinois.edu/about/Next-Chapter-Everitt-Lab.pdf.

 

The legacy of William L. Everitt

In November 2019, the Big Ten Network debuted a 30-minute documentary (now on YouTube), "William L. Everitt: An Optimist's Journey."

Photo of William L. Everitt. An American scientist, inventor, author, educator and engineering visionary, William Littell Everitt helped transform the Department of Electrical Engineering (now Electrical and Computer Engineering) and College of Engineering (now The Grainger College of Engineering) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign into the internationally renowned research and education powerhouses they are today.

Everitt rose to prominence during the late 1920s and ’30s while at The Ohio State University, where he earned his Ph.D. There he also wrote the book, “Communication Engineering,” first published in 1932 and followed by three editions, which introduced several generations of students to the telecommunications field.

During World War II, Everitt made important contributions especially as a radar pioneer, including inventing the radar altimeter, which is used in all aircraft in some form to this day. He also developed early network and antenna designs.

After the war, in 1945, Everitt became EE department head at Illinois. In 1949, the EE Building was completed, and that same year, he became dean of the College of Engineering, where he implemented collegewide reforms for the next 19 years.

Everitt also held nearly every major office in key professional and engineering education societies, influencing engineering curricula on a national scale. He served as a founding member of the National Academy of Engineering, and he was especially proud of helping to bring Illiac I online in 1952 — which was both the University of Illinois’ first computer and the first computer built and owned by a U.S. educational institution.

"My grandfather was an accomplished engineer, and on that alone he could be remembered," said his grandson William Everitt III. "He was also an accomplished educator, and on that alone he could be remembered. But what his legacy really is, and where he did change the world, was creating the philosophical foundation (on) which a first-tier research university can build itself."

Among the internationally recognized faculty Everitt hired during his tenure are engineering luminaries two-time Nobel Laureate John Bardeen, light-emitting diode (LED) inventor Nick Holonyak Jr., and silicon technology pioneer Chih-Tang Sah.

Everitt retired as dean in 1968 but continued to influence U.S. telecommunications policy and direction via his membership on several committees and panels. During his lifetime, Everitt also received many prestigious awards and honors, including the Institute of Radio Engineers Medal of Honor, being named one of the Top Ten electrical engineers of all time by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and receiving 10 honorary doctorates.

William L. Everitt died in Urbana, Ill., on September 6, 1986, at the age of 86 and later was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame at Illinois. In 1988, the EE building was renamed Everitt Laboratory in his honor, and it carries his name to this day.

If you would like to support William Everitt's legacy, please consider contributing to the Everitt Laboratory fund.