Peter H. Anderson, Morgan professor

During his nearly three-decade career at Morgan State University, he helped expand engineering program

  • Peter H. Anderson
Peter H. Anderson (unknown, Baltimore Sun )
September 25, 2012|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Peter H. Anderson, a former professor of electrical engineering at the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering at Morgan State University, died Sept. 19 from complications after brain surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Bel Air resident was 66.

"Professor Anderson is a legend without any fanfare. He was a free spirit and a joy to be around. He did what he needed to do to make things better for himself and others," said Eugene M. Deloatch, dean of the college of engineering.

The son of educators, Peter Harold Anderson was born in St. Johnsbury, Vt., and raised in Springfield, Vt., where he graduated from high school in 1964.

After earning a bachelor's degree in 1968 from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., and a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1970 from Columbia University, he served as a lieutenant with the Army Signal Corps from 1970 to 1972.

He began his career in 1968 working as a research engineer at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J., where he designed various systems, including a pulse train checking circuit that was used in telephone exchanges and for which he received a patent.

In 1982, Mr. Anderson was appointed by AT&T as a visiting engineering professor to Howard University, where he remained for two years before returning to Bell Laboratories.

Dr. Deloatch had brought Mr. Anderson to Howard, and after he came to Morgan to establish the school of engineering, his thoughts turned to his old friend.

"I came here to build an engineering school from scratch, and remembered that Pete had a tremendous rapport with the students, and I thought he'd fit in well with our education and research programs. He also laid out many of our electrical engineering laboratory concepts," said Dr. Deloatch.

"He loved teaching and he loved the students. He agreed to come and I knew he was exactly the person that could take these young people to where they needed to be," he said.

Mr. Anderson preferred to dress casually, said Dr. Deloatch, who added that his laboratory was "pure Rube Goldberg."

From a young age, Mr. Anderson had been fascinated by electrical theory, circuit designs and programming microprocessors, said his wife of 44 years, the former Noreen Joyce, a social worker.

Masud Salimian, an industrial engineer who teaches manufacturing engineering at Morgan, has been a close friend for 22 years.

Mr. Anderson "was a person who was very hands-on and very knowledgeable, and from that point on, he became a mentor to me. If I needed something, I'd go to Pete. He was like an older brother to me," he said.

Dr. Salimian said that Mr. Anderson held his students to high standards of professionalism, so when they graduated they could compete.

"He cared a lot about people, and one of the biggest things about Pete was that he had such a big heart for the underprivileged and the weak. He was a champion for them," he said.

Dr. Salimian, a native of Iran, never forget the kindness and concern that Mr. Anderson extended to him and his family in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"He was worried about us and offered us a place to stay. If I didn't love him before that day, he became the star that I would always look at," he said. "I'll never forget what he did that day. It was a blessing to know the man."

"He was such a wonderful person and was just Peter. He was the kind of person who could talk about anything," said Sharrun Faulkner-Kinchen, an administrative assistant in the dean of engineering's office. "And his students loved him, too."

Mr. Anderson, who retired in 2011, was the author of numerous articles and several books, "The Basic Stamp 1 — Tutorial and Applications," "The Basic Stamp 2 — Tutorial and Applications," and "The Parallel Port for Data Acquisition and Control Vol. 1 and 2."

Mr. Anderson was an environmentalist and a civil rights and peace activist. He was a longtime ham radio operator and enjoyed hiking.

He was a member of the ACLU of Maryland, ACORN, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C., and the American Humanist Association.

A celebration of Mr. Anderson's life will be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2515 Churchville Road, Churchville, where he had been a longtime member.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Anderson is survived by two sons, Peter H. Anderson Jr. of Wake Forest, N.C., and Eric Anderson of Bel Air; and a brother, Jon Anderson of Montpelier, Vt.

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