Bourns and Yeager to be Named Fellows

Marlan Bourns and Jacques S. "Jack" Yeager Sr. will be named Fellows of UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering at the college's commencement ceremony June 18

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Riverside business leaders and long-time supporters of engineering education Marlan Bourns and Jacques S. “Jack” Yeager Sr. will be named Fellows of UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering at the college’s commencement ceremony June 18.

“We are pleased to honor the support and commitment to our college, the university, and the community that Marlan Bourns and Jack Yeager have demonstrated over the years,” said Reza Abbaschian, dean of the college. “These men are giants in their fields whose generous engagement has benefited countless students who have gone on — and will go on in the years ahead — to improve the lives of people throughout the world.”

The honor of Fellow of the Bourns College of Engineering was established in 2011 and is bestowed upon individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of engineering or whose activities have benefited the engineering community and the college.

At the ceremony, the college will confer bachelor of science, master of science, and Ph.D. degrees. The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Tony Hey, corporate vice president for Microsoft Research Connections. The student speaker will be Amir Rustamzadeh, who will earn his B.S. in electrical engineering.

Marlan Bourns was born in 1920 and grew up on his family’s farm near Milford, Michigan. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Michigan. He then worked at Cal Tech during World War II. At its conclusion, he married his sweetheart from Milford, Rosemary Miller, and this year they are celebrating 65 years of marriage.

Marlan Bourns headshot

Marlan Bourns

After driving from Milford to Pasadena for their honeymoon, they co-founded the Bourns Laboratories in their single-car garage. Marlan developed innovative sensors for the aircraft industry, which he produced using a simple drill press and lathe, that measured the position of flight control surfaces, altitude and acceleration.

Marlan and Rosemary built the company, which moved to Riverside in 1950, around a simple philosophy: Provide top-quality products, responsive service and high value for customers. These ideals are still the benchmarks of Bourns, Inc., which has grown from a few engineers to more than 4,000 employees.

Bourns, Inc. serves global customers in the industrial, consumer, telecommunications and automotive markets. Bourns products, including the then-revolutionary Trimpot® trimming potentiometer which Marlan invented, have been used in everything from the Apollo space program’s lunar landing controls and astronaut space suit pressure regulators, to the electronic stability controls for today’s automobiles.

In addition to their business success, the Bourns name is synonymous with community involvement. The family created the Bourns Foundation to support worthy educational causes in the region and in 1994 a generous gift led to the naming of the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside in their honor, along with Bourns Hall, a nexus for research and teaching at the college.

Jacques S. “Jack” Yeager, Sr., was born in 1921, in Riverside, the eldest of three sons. He is the former chairman of E.L. Yeager Construction Company, a Riverside-based construction firm founded by his father, E.L. Yeager, in 1919. With his brothers, the late Richard (1979) and Eugene (2010) Yeager, Jack ran the family business for years.

Jacques Yeager headhsot

Jacques S. “Jack” Yeager, Sr.

Jack Yeager graduated from Poly High School in Riverside in 1938 and began his college career at UC Berkeley. His education was interrupted by World War II, where he served as a lieutenant in the Seabees. In 1945, he returned to Berkeley to complete his civil engineering degree and after graduation returned home to the family business.

Yeager’s commitment to the Riverside community and UCR is vast. He has served on the UCR Foundation Board of Trustees since 1977 and was appointed as a regent from 1988 to 1994. Among the permanent reminders of his support are the initial grading for the campus in 1953 and the pouring of the “C” on the side of Box Springs Mountain. In 2000 he was named an inaugural UCR Laureate for cumulative giving to UCR, and in 2002 he was given the Trustees Award for Extraordinary Service.

His commitment to the Bourns College of Engineering is equally extraordinary and includes the Jacques and Eugene Yeager Families Chair, which supports the director of the College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT); the Jacques and Helen Hays Yeager Fund, which supported the development of the facilities at CE-CERT; and a newly established faculty chair in the Department of Bioengineering. In 2010 he was honored along with his later brother Eugene with the naming of the Jacques and Eugene Yeager Conference Room at CE-CERT’s headquarters.

As corporate vice president in Microsoft Research Connections, Tony Hey is responsible for worldwide university research collaborations with Microsoft researchers. Hey is also responsible for the multidisciplinary eScience Research Group within Microsoft Research.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Hey served as director of the U.K.’s e-Science Initiative, managing the government’s efforts to build a new scientific infrastructure for collaborative, multidisciplinary, data-intensive research projects. Before leading this initiative, Hey led a research group in the area of parallel computing and was head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, and dean of engineering and applied science at the University of Southampton.

Hey is a fellow of the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering and was awarded a CBE for services to science in 2005. He is also a fellow of the British Computer Society, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Physics, and the U.S. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Tony Hey has written books on particle physics and computing and has a passionate interest in communicating the excitement of science and technology to young people. He has co-authored “popular” books on quantum mechanics and on relativity.

Originally from Isahan, Iran, Amir Rustamzadeh immigrated to the U.S. in 1999 and served as chair of the student chapter of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers and president of the Institute of Navigation at UCR. He was an academic employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he worked on the Mars Science Laboratory rover. He also worked at Space Exploration Technologies (Space X), where he worked on the avionics of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon Space Capsule, which recently docked with the International Space Station. After graduation, Rustamzadeh will remain at the college for a fifth year to earn his master’s degree.

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