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Honorary degree citation - William McMurray*

By: Jeremiah F. Hayes, June 1986

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I have the honor to present to you William McMurray, researcher, author, inventor, and distinguished member of the Engineering profession.

Upon graduation Canadian engineers dedicate themselves to the practice of their profession in the moving ceremony of the Iron Ring. In this ceremony a passage from Kipling describes engineers as the "the Sons of Martha" since they devote themselves to the material well-being of humankind. (In recognition of the many women that we now have in our profession, we must speak of the Daughters of Martha as well).

William McMurray has been a true Son of Martha. His pioneering work in the field of Power Electronics, over a period of more than twenty years, has contributed to the material prosperity which we all enjoy and which is the basis of progress in the arts and sciences. Power electronics increases that efficiency and the range of application of electronic machinery. The ubiquity of these machines is exemplified by Canadarm, which has electrical machines as a basic component. The modern electric machine is essential to today's manufacturing processes.

Since 1953 William McMurray has been a member of the Corporate Research and Development staff of the General Electric Company. His first major contribution was the significant improvement in self-commutated thyritor inverters which are in world-wide use. Mr. McMurray has investigated the analysis, design, optimization and computer simulation of a wide range of semiconductor power converters and their controls. The applications of this work include power conditioners, uninterruptable power supplies, ac and dc adjustable speed drives and HVDC transmission. He pioneered in the development of chopper converters for electric vehicles.

The body of his technical accomplishments is contained in some twenty five research papers and fifteen patents. In addition, he has contributed to the book Principles of Inverter Circuits and he was the sole author of The Theory and sign of Cycloconverters.

Mr. McMurray's contributions have received wide recognition in the profession. Three of his papers have been awarded prizes. Further, in 1978 he was honored with the William E. Newell Power Electronics Award. In 1980, his work at General Electric was recognized with an outstanding technical achievement award. In this same year, he was raised to the rank of Fellow of the world's largest professional society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Fellow is the highest membership rank in the IEEE and is limited to a small percentage of membership. In 1984 Mr. McMurray received the prestigious Lamme Medal for the IEEE.

Mr. McMurray has received the Bachelor of Science with First Class honors from London University. He also holds the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Union College. He is a Professional Engineer in the State of New York.

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, William McMurray, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased

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