The Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award

Michael K.J. Milligan is the 2021 recipient of the
college's highest alumni award. He received a
bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1983.

Receiving this year’s Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award is Michael K.J. Milligan, PhD, PE, CAE, executive director and chief executive officer of ABET, a nonprofit organization that accredits more than 4,300 college and university programs in 41 countries in the disciplines of applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. Each year, these programs prepare over 175,000 students to enter the global workforce.

The Erickson Award is the highest honor presented to an alumnus by the college. It recognizes professional accomplishment, volunteer service, and distinguished service to the college and the engineering profession.

At ABET, Milligan leads a full-time staff headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, that supports more than 2,000 volunteer experts from 35 professional and technical societies. He is responsible for executing ABET’s strategic vision, administration and global operations and reports directly to the President, ABET Board of Directors. Milligan serves on several international advisory boards and executive committees focused on STEM education. Read more on Michael K.J. Milligan.



John D. Ryder Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Award

James O. Fishbeck - Electrical and Computer
Engineering Award

James O. Fishbeck grew up in Lansing and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at MSU while working nights as a transmitter engineer at WILS Radio, a commercial AM/FM radio station in Lansing.

He later joined Collins Radio as a flight control systems design engineer. His most interesting assignment was working as a member of the team that designed a custom flight director system for Air Force 26000, which used the call sign Air Force One when the U.S. President was on board. The aircraft was a customized version of the Boeing 707 passenger jet. Fishbeck was also the on-site engineer who oversaw the installation and certification of the new system, which included participation on several test flights. The airplane has been on permanent display at the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, since 1998.

He returned to MSU to earn an MBA degree in 1970 and then embarked on a 30-year career with Analog Devices, a leading global high-performance semiconductor company that creates products that sense, measure, power, connect and interpret. The company’s 2020 revenues totaled $5.6 billion, compared to $16 million during the year he joined the company.

Fishbeck began his Analog Devices career as a product marketing engineer, and subsequently held a series of marketing management positions prior to becoming director of investor relations, reporting to the CEO. He retired in 2002. Read more on James O. Fishbeck.