Ericsson Inc. created the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in December 1986 for the dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, and Spong was named to the chair in August 2008. The Excellence in Education Chair was established in 1992 by the Excellence in Education Foundation. Spong assumed that chair in March 2009.
Spong is a world leader in robotics research and education. He co-wrote one of the most popular textbooks on robot dynamics and control and is the author or co-author of several of the most highly cited papers in the field.
Holding both the Ericsson Chair and Excellence in Education Chair is a rare honor, for which I am very grateful and extremely honored. Our success at UT Dallas would not be possible without the tremendous generosity and support of our donors.
Spong led the School of Engineering and Computer Science from 2008 to 2017, serving as its fourth dean. He was recruited from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he had taught since 1984.
He has spent his entire career working to transform robotics from fiction to fact. His work has been instrumental in establishing the theoretical foundations of robot control. He has produced innovative solutions in robotics that have stood the test of time to become now-classic results in robotic control. His record of achievement earned him the 2011 Pioneer in Robotics and Automation Award from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Robotics and Automation Society, that organization’s highest honor.
Spong is past president of the IEEE Control Systems Society and a fellow of the IEEE, and has served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Control System Technology. His other notable honors include the first IROS (Intelligent Robotics and Systems) Fumio Harashima Award for Innovative Technologies in 2007, the Senior Scientist Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Distinguished Member Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society, the John R. Ragazzini Education and O. Hugo Schuck Awards from the American Automatic Control Council, and the IEEE Third Millennium Medal.
AT UT Dallas, Spong served as has overseen tremendous growth at the Jonsson School, including adding departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Bioengineering and Systems Engineering. In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities, Spong directs the Laboratory for Autonomous Robotics and Systems (LARS).
Spong received his BA magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in mathematics and physics from Hiram College, his MS in mathematics from New Mexico State University and an MS and PhD in systems science and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. He began his academic career at Lehigh University and from 1982 to 1984 taught at Cornell University.