Although he was ready to retire from the university after 40 years as a full-time faculty member, Dr. George Bekey continues to be active in his community and in his profession. He now teaches part-time at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in the biomedical engineering program and teaches a class on world religions in the university’s continuing education program. Outside of the university, he works with two start-up companies: Patient Patents, Inc., in San Luis Obispo and RoboDynamics in Los Angeles. He also serves on the advisory boards of several high-tech companies. In 2005 he published a new book, Autonomous Robots (MIT Press) and currently is writing another on biomedical engineering. He also serves on a local committee which helps K-12th grade teachers learn how to use robots in the classroom. The goal of this program is to inspire children to pursue careers in science and math. Aside from all the work he is doing, he enjoys relaxing in his Central California community by working in his garden, taking walks on the beach, and being a member of a local hiking club.
Dr. George Bekey (Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering) came to USC in 1962 as Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, became an associate professor in 1964, and full professor in 1969. From 1984 to 1989 he served as chair of the Computer Science Department. He has also served as chair of the Electrical Engineering Department from 1978–1982 and as Associate Dean of Research for the School of Engineering from 1997–2001. He was a founder of the Biomedical Engineering Department and founder of the Robotics Research Laboratory at USC. His awards and honors, among others, include: elected Fellow of IEEE for “Contributions to Hybrid Computation, Man-Machine Systems and Biomedical Engineering” (1972); Distinguished Faculty Award, USC School of Engineering (1976); elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering for “Pioneering work in Computer Sciences Contributing to Biomedical Engineering, Man-Machine Systems and Robotics” (1989); and recipient of the USC Presidential Medallion (2000). He transitioned into retirement in 2002 when he stepped down from a full-time professorship to part-time and finally took full retirement from USC in 2005.
“Don’t drop your professional career all at once. Reduce your work slowly and ease off from your responsibilities. Don’t drop everything at once because many people who enter retirement this way end up unhappy and bored.” George Bekey, 2006