“This has been the fastest, happiest decade of my life, and I’m really going the miss the many friends I have here across campus,” says Jerry Sergent, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, speaking of his impending retirement at the end of the summer.
A fixture in the electrical engineering department for the past 10 years, Dr. Sergent was recruited from industry–– he was a consultant with GE, GE India, and a few legal firms–– by then-dean Vagos Hadjimichael. In that time, lab equipment has been upgraded and new courses added, but “our message has changed very little,” Dr. Sergent said. “We still work closely with students to prepare them to be successful in industry, gearing our courses to be as close to industrial needs as possible.” As an example, he pointed to the increasing need for students to be comfortable making and customizing integrated circuits, which have become prevalent in everything from ipads to cell phones and hearing aids, and to understand alternate energy sources.
“Jerry was always ready, willing and able to take on just about any task he encountered in his decade of service to the School of Engineering,” says Dean Jack Beal. “In the classroom and in the lab, he gave his students a full and complete measure of the subject; they wanted to work for him. All of us here in the School of Engineering wish Jerry the very best.”
Dr. Sergent is retiring as a “professor emeritus”, an honor “which means I have all of the privileges and none of the duties” of a full professor. It’s a well-deserved honor for a guy who’s been working since he was nine. “I grew up doing odd jobs on a farm in Kentucky,” he said. After joining the army, he was trained in electronics, then studied engineering on the GI Bill. He and his wife will be moving to Florida.
“You know, I taught at the University of South Florida for 10 years and could count number of friends I had outside of engineering,” recalls Dr. Sergent. “Here, I know half the campus.”
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