Morris D. Hooven

Morris D. Hooven
Morris D. Hooven
Weatherly, PA, USA
Death date
Associated organizations
Fields of study
IEEE Founders Medal

1955 -1956

Morris D. Hooven, 1955 -1956, served on the inter-utilities committee at the Public Service Electric Company (PSE&G), which established the Pennsylvania-New Jersey 220 kv Interconnection. He also worked on other committees that developed load studies, operating communications, river basin studies, and plant designs.


Morris D. Hooven was born on 30 May 1897 in Weatherly, Pennsylvania, and graduated in 1914 from Turtle Creek High School in the Pittsburgh area. He spent several years in the laboratories of Carnegie Steel Company, attending Carnegie Tech and Pitt at night. He also spent short periods at the University of Vermont and Sheffield Scientific School while a private in the Signal Corps. In 1920 he received a B.S. degree magna cum laude from Bucknell.

Upon graduation, Hooven went to work for Westinghouse as a member of the newly formed radio engineering staff. There he was assigned as a cub engineer to Charles LeGeyt Fortescue. Once KDKA, Westinghouse’s trailblazing radio station, had established itself, Hooven tried radio sales out of the Westinghouse agent-jobber establishment at Pittsburgh, but soon returned to engineering.

In 1922 Dr. Fortescue sent Hooven to the Public Service Electric Company in Newark where Mr. Rollin Conwell was forming a new transmission engineering office. Here, Hooven was charged with the establishment of a group to explore electric system planning, then a pioneering field. With the onset of the Depression, he became Assistant Transmission and Substation Engineer, spending more time on hardware than previously. During the war, he became head of the electrical division of the engineering department, and after the war, he sponsored the electrical design and construction of the larger generating units and stations then being rushed into service.

Hooven served on the inter-utilities committee which established the Pennsylvania-New Jersey 220 kv Interconnection (now PJM) and other intercompany committees developing load studies, operating communications, river basin studies and plant design. Hooven remained at PSE&G until 1959, serving 48 years in varying assignments for the growing utility. Even after retirement, he continued in the capacity of consulting engineer to PSE&G, and associated electric utilities in New Jersey, especially on problems concerned with the development of natural resources.

For more than ten years he was a part of the administration of the Joint Development and Research Program of the Bell System and NELA which settled with some finality the controversies which earlier had greatly disturbed relationships between the communication and electric supply utilities. He served the combined industries in developing the joint Principles and Practices as the electric supply system representative on the negotiating committees with the telegraph companies and the railroads. He was one of the joint chairmen of the NEMA-RMA-NELA industry committee on Radio Coordination.

In the years just before World War II Hooven was a member of the Federal government's Radio Advisory Committee, Power Policy Committee, and National Defense Power Committee. During the war, he served the Selective Service System as a member of its New Jersey Board of Scientists and Engineers. Later in his career, he served as a member of the executive committee of the Board of Directors of the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin, a commissioner of the Newark Municipal Utilities Authority, an advisor to the Water Department of the Town of Montclair, a member of the American Water Works Association, and a member of the NAM Committee on Natural Resources.

His first Institute papers were presented in 1929, -"Radio Interference" before IRE's Fourth Annual Convention at Washington, D. C. and "Procedures for Load Forecasting" before AIEE in New York. His professional society activities during the twenties, however, were largely confined to the Engineering National Section of the National Electric Light Association (now Edison Electric Institute) where he became chairman of the Radio Interference Committee in 1926, chairman of the Inductive Coordination Committee in 1929, and Secretary of the Power Systems Engineering Committee in 1930.

Hooven was one of the founders of the Power Group of the New York Section of AIEE and, several years later, of the New Jersey Division of that Section, also being a participant in the formation of the Northern New Jersey Section of IRE. After the war, he became a member of the joint ASME-AIEE Committee on Steam Turbine Generators which sponsored the adoption of standards for new large power generating units.

In the National AIEE organization his work progressed through the Technical Program Committee, the Publication Committee and the Planning and Coordination Committee until the mid-1940s when he became a member of the three-man exploratory team which later sponsored the Board of Directors' adoption of the 1946 Ashville Resolution. This resolution reoriented Institute activities, and still carries with it administrative concepts of high import to the successor institute, IEEE.

In 1954 Hooven represented electrical engineering at ASCE's Centennial of Engineering, there giving the electrical-historical paper at the Convocation's session on the "Role of the Organized Professions". He became Chairman of the New York Section of AIEE, and later served as AIEE Vice President, a Director and in 1955, as President.

He was an early proponent of “unity of the profession”, a philosophical position that ultimately triumphed in the merger of the AIEE and the IRE to form the IEEE. At a specially called meeting of the AIEE Board of Directors in San Francisco he obtained a cautious approval of a unity and merger outline. He served on the Engineers Council for Professional Development for 13 consecutive years, including two terms as president beginning in 1957. He also served on the Engineers Joint Council. His position on the Joint ECPD-EJC Committee on Survey of the Profession, including his role as chairman for many years, gave him a platform to promote the “unity of the profession” position. Despite his early efforts, the merger would not occur until the 1960s.

He also served on the Committee on Development of Engineering Faculties in ASEE, the Professional Identity Committee in NSPE, and later as Chairman of the History Committee of IEEE.

Among awards he has received are: honorary doctor of science degrees from Newark College of Engineering (1957) and Bucknell University (1958), University of Prague Anniversary Medal (1957), University of Louisville Distinguished Lecture Medallion (1958), Honorary Membership Award by Montclair Society of Engineers (1964) and Bucknell University Award of Merit (1969). He is the author of many papers in his several fields.

Mr. Hooven was awarded the IEEE Founders Medal in 1970 "In recognition of many years of creative leadership in the advancement of electric power systems engineering, and for contributions to the community in engineering education and in the effective uses of water resources."