Joseph Bordogna


Joseph Bordogna
Joseph Bordogna
Associated organizations
National Science Foundation
IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal


Joseph Bordogna, IEEE President, 1998, was the deputy director and Chief Operating Officer of the National Science Foundation (1999-2005). In addition, he was the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served formerly as Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.


Joseph Bordogna was born on 22 March 1933 in Scranton, Pennsylvania and died on 25 November 2019. Bordogna was IEEE president in 1998. He was awarded the 2008 IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal.

Bordogna was the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania where he had been Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and Director of The Moore School of Electrical Engineering. Professor Bordogna’s leadership in engineering was recognized by President Clinton who appointed him to the National Science Foundation and by his peers who elected him worldwide president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. His service to the community included helping to found PRIME, the Philadelphia Regional Introduction for Minorities to Engineering and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ initiatives for university-industry technology commercialization.

Bordogna was born to Raymond and Rose (Yesu) Bordogna. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to South Philadelphia where his father worked as a carpenter at the U.S. Naval Shipyard and his mother as an assembly worker at a local manufacturing plant.

After graduating from Philadelphia’s John Bartram High School as the Valedictorian and winner of a General Electric prize for academic achievement, he attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering on a Naval ROTC scholarship. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1955, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1958 as Lieutenant on the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey and the destroyer U.S.S Huse. In 1957, he was awarded a commendation as Operations Officer of the flagship of the naval unit which achieved the world’s first space capsule recovery in Operation Jupiter.

Following his naval service, Joseph Bordogna attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Whitney Fellowship where he earned a Master of Science degree in 1960. Upon graduation from MIT, he returned to the Philadelphia area as an engineer at the Radio Corporation of America’s Plant in Camden, New Jersey where he helped develop early laser communications systems, electro-optic recording materials, transistor-based computing systems and holographic television playback systems from 1958-1964. At RCA, he was a member of the team that built the first semiconductor laser voice communication system that operated at room temperature. During this period, he also continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering in 1964.

Upon receiving his Ph.D., he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant professor of Electrical Engineering in 1964. His career at Penn spanned forty-eight years and a variety of roles until his full-time retirement on May 1, 2012. He continued to serve as the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering until his death.

In addition to his academic focus, Professor Bordogna served as the founding faculty director of Stouffer College House, a living-learning student residence at Penn from 1972 to 1978. Professor Bordogna led the founding of Penn’s highly acclaimed joint-degree Management and Technology Program, combining the strengths of the School of Engineering and the Wharton School.

From 1991 to 2005, Bordogna served at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), first as the head of NSF’s Directorate for Engineering. He was appointed acting Deputy Director in 1996 by then-NSF Director, Dr. Neal Lane. In 1999, he was named Deputy Director by President Clinton and following Senate confirmation, he subsequently served as Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer. Complementary to these tasks, he was a member of the President’s Management Council, Federal Government’s Technology Reinvestment Project Team (TRP), Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles Committee (PNGV), U.S.-Japan Joint Optoelectronics Project and chaired committees on Manufacturing, Environmental Technologies, and Automotive Technologies in the President’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). During his service on the NSF he was the then longest-serving Deputy Director in the agency’s history. In 2005, a high triangular plateau in the South Holland Range of the Shackleton Coast of Antarctica, was named Bordogna Plateau, in recognition for his “key leadership and guidance to the United States Antarctic Program at a number of critical points in its evolution.”

Associations, Honors & Awards

Throughout his career, Bordogna worked to include underrepresented populations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. He was a founder in 1973 of PRIME (Philadelphia Regional Introduction for Minorities to Engineering) and served on the board of the Philadelphia Partnership for Education, community coalitions providing, respectively, supportive academic programs for K-12 students and teachers.

He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the International Engineering Consortium. IEEE members elected him to the office of president-elect for 1996 and president for 1997.

He was awarded the 2008 IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal which recognizes “the importance of the educator’s contributions to the vitality, imagination, and leadership of the members of the engineering profession.”

Other notable distinctions include:

1966: Author, Electric Networks: functions, filters, analysis (McGraw-Hill Electrical and Electronic Engineering Series)

1974: American Society Engineering Education (George Westinghouse award 1974)

1996-1997: University City Science Center, Chairman

1998-1999: Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (chair engineering section)

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (chairman Philadelphia section 1987-1988, president 1998, Centennial medal 1984)

1989: The University of Pennsylvania Alumni Award of Merit

2004: Leadership in Technology Management Award from the International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology

2005: Eminent Member of Eta Kappa Nu – Electrical and Computer Engineering Honor Society,

2005: Honor Society of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (Johnson & Johnson Diversity medal),

2005: Lifetime Achievement Award of the D.C. Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies

2005: U.S. Government Leadership Award of the Semiconductor Industry Association

2005: Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from North Carolina AT&T State University

2006: National Science Foundation Distinguished Service Medal

Member Sigma Xi – Scientific Research Honor Society

Member Tau Beta Pi – Engineering Honor Society

Member Phi Beta Delta – International Scholars Honor Society

Further Reading