In memoriam: Douglas K. Lindner, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering
February 11, 2020
Douglas K. Lindner of Blacksburg, Virginia, passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 1, 2020. He was 67.
Upon Lindner's retirement from Virginia Tech in 2017, he was conferred the title of associate professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering.
Lindner was born on Oct. 17, 1952, in Waverly, Iowa, the son of the late Sherwin and Shirley Lindner, and was raised on the family farm. There, he acquired his work ethic by helping with daily farm chores. He attended Waverly-Shell Rock High School, graduating in 1971. That fall, he began his academic career at Iowa State University, where he discovered a different life than the farm and developed many lifelong friendships.
Lindner received bachelor's degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering from Iowa State University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign. Immediately after defending his Ph.D. in control theory in 1982, he became an electrical and computer engineering faculty member at Virginia Tech.
Lindner spent his entire professional career at Virginia Tech, where he had two “big families," the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the contemplative practices and mindfulness communities in Blacksburg and beyond.
“I took the first course he taught, EE5704, Linear Systems Theory, and I am still occasionally referring to my class notes," said Dushan Boroyevich, University Distinguished Professor. "He was also my host when I interviewed for a visiting professor position in 1989 for my return to Blacksburg.”
During his tenure in the electrical and computer engineering department, Lindner was the principal or co-principal investigator on sponsored research awards exceeding $3.5 million to study control of dynamic structures and drive electronics for smart materials. He received many U.S. Navy American Society of Engineering Education Summer Research Program grants to pursue research in smart materials and was the recipient of a NASA-ASEE Summer Research Program for research in control of structures. He also participated in the Boeing - A.D. Welliver Summer Faculty Research Program.
In the classroom, Lindner taught both undergraduate and graduate courses. He authored a leading textbook, "Introduction to Signals and Systems," that has been used to teach Virginia Tech electrical and computer engineering students for more than 15 years. He directed four doctoral degree students and more than a dozen master’s degree students to completion of their degrees and served on more than 100 master’s degree and doctoral degree committees, many of them in the Virginia Power Electronics Center and the Center for Power Electronics Systems.
Lindner was particularly interested in mindfulness meditation and contemplative practices as related to a rapidly changing technological society. He organized several conferences at Virginia Tech, including “Contemplative Practices for a Technological Society” in April 2013 and “Contemplative Practices for the 21st Century University” in March 2016.
During the 2013-14 academic year, he was honored with the prestigious Frederick P. Lenz Fellowship at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, to study humanistic engineering and contemplative practice. His later research interests included the development of ethics instruction for STEM, incorporating mindfulness. He practiced meditation and qigong.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, at The German Club, 711 Southgate Drive, Blacksburg, Virginia from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The original notice can be found here.
-Written by Greg Atkins