2013 Distinguished Alumni Service Award
William Kubitz first came to the University of Illinois as an undergraduate in 1957. He received his BS and MS in physics in 1961 and 1962, respectively. He then went to work for General Electric in Milwaukee. In 1964 he returned to Illinois for a PhD in electrical engineering, which he completed in 1968.
During his doctoral studies, he was a member of W. J. Poppelbaum’s research group, which was involved in digital and analog systems for the ILLIAC III computing system.
After receiving his doctorate, Kubitz stayed at the university, first as a postdoctoral assistant and then as a faculty member. His research focused on graphics, VLSI, and circuits. He helped build one of the world’s first color painting systems by combining an analog/digital system from a color monitor and a magnetic video disk on which the user could outline a shape and then color it in.
In 1985 he became associate head of the CS Department. He was instrumental in affecting many important changes. He helped establish the department’s first PC labs. He oversaw additions (completed in 1989) to the DCL building (the department’s home at the time), including the addition of a third floor.
He served on many campus committees that had major impact on the technology used by the university. He was one of the leaders that pushed to network the entire campus. He also remained actively involved in ensuring that the department’s curriculum kept pace with the developing technologies. He was one of the leaders in the department’s first online course offerings.
Kubitz was one of the key players to guide the planning, construction, and move-in of the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science. His close work with the architects and faculty provided a building that enables the department to thrive and grow. Kubitz retired in 2000, but remained actively involved with all phases of the Siebel Center construction and occupation.