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Larry H. Will ’66 Larry H. Will ’66

Larry H. Will ’66

“The Drexel five-year electrical engineering program gave me a solid foundation.”

Larry Will ’66 began giving to Drexel not long after his graduation. Contributing to the Class of 1966 Endowed Scholarship, he says, got him in the habit of giving to the school every year. The amounts were small but as he got older and more successful, he decided it was time to increase his support, so he established the Larry H. Will ’66 Endowed Scholarship, to support students studying power or communications engineering.

“I felt that I had to give something back to the university,” he says, “because the Drexel five-year electrical engineering program gave me a solid foundation in many engineering disciplines besides electrical – especially civil and mechanical – which served me very well over the course of my career.”

With his degree, Mr. Will has had a long and successful career as a broadcast engineer. It all began with a ham radio and the operator’s license he received when he was 15 years old. While he was preparing for the exam, he would smuggle his test manual into geography class, hiding it inside the larger textbook so that he could study without getting caught. He had always loved all things electronic and mechanical, but the radio was a big turning point for a teenager living in rural Pennsylvania in the 1950s. At a time when making a single long distance phone call was a big monetary investment, Mr. Will could talk to people anywhere on earth. He could listen to the BBC, talk to an operator in Spain and meet and get to know the chief engineer at a local radio station, who eventually invited him to come and take a tour.

By the time he graduated from high school, Mr. Will knew beyond a doubt that he wanted to study broadcast engineering. He got his associate’s degree in electronic technology but realized he’d need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering if he wanted to be successful in his career.

He applied to Drexel and joined the ROTC, and graduated as a Second Lieutenant with a Reserve Commission in the Corps of Engineers. In between teaching stints at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and Fort Gordon in Georgia, Mr. Will served a one-year tour in Vietnam. He spent the first half of the tour building electrical plants, sewers and roads and the second half as a communications officer working with radios and radioteletype (RTTY) machines. Later he worked on intelligence assignments until he retired, after 28 years in the US Army Reserve, as a Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Signal Corps.

After a long career, Mr. Will is now retired, but not really. He’s a licensed professional engineer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and still does consulting work mainly in Broadcast Radio and Television because, he says, “I’m having fun at it.” And he still plays with ham radios, these days often restoring old ones and writing articles in enthusiast magazines. He is planning to visit campus in the future to speak with senior cadets about his early experiences working as a young lieutenant in the Army. And he looks forward to meeting his future scholarship students and sharing not just his experience but a passion that has lasted a lifetime.

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July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014
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