Bill Benso (EE ’59) will receive the KU School of Engineering’s highest honor, the Distinguished Engineering Service Award, on May 6 in the Kansas Union ballroom.
Given out annually since 1980, the Distinguished Engineering Service Awards honor KU engineering alumni or engineers who have maintained a close association with the University and have made outstanding contributions to the profession of engineering and to society. Benso along with Michael Chun, Dean Grimm and Bob Smith will receive the Service Award.
Benso helped make the U.S. military more efficient and air travel safer. He worked for North American Aviation, later Rockwell International, for nearly a quarter of a century. He was involved in the development of shipboard navigation systems that are on every U.S. submarine. He then went to Martin Marietta, later Lockheed Martin, in 1986. Through his leadership, he contributed significantly to Martin Marietta Canada Ltd., winning a system engineering management contract in the late 1980s to modernize Canada’s national air traffic control to seamlessly mesh with that of the United States. He retired in 1996. He has been active on the School of Engineering Advisory Board and continues to show a commitment to improving his community while exhibiting a love of KU and the School of Engineering.
Distinguished Engineering Service Awards are made on the basis of an individual’s contribution to the theories and practices of engineering, research and development in new fields of engineering or direction of an organization that has made exceptional contributions in design, production and development.