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Donald Troxel, longtime EECS professor, dies at 76

Taught MIT's 6.111 course for many years
Donald Troxel
Donald Troxel

Donald E. Troxel, an MIT alumnus who later spent 40 years at the Institute as an electrical engineering and computer science faculty member and principal investigator at the Research Laboratory of Electronics and Microsystems Technology Laboratories, died on Jan. 18. He was 76.

After receiving his BS in electrical engineering from Rutgers University in 1956, Troxel earned his SM and PhD in electrical engineering from MIT in 1960 and 1962. He began at the Institute as a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellow in 1962, and joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1965.

Troxel was named a full professor in 1985, and served in that position for nearly 20 years; he retired in June 2004, becoming a professor emeritus.

His teaching activities centered on undergraduate electronics and digital systems laboratories, and for many years he taught MIT's 6.111 course, "Introductory Digital Systems Laboratory." Troxel's principal research interests included digital systems design and computer-aided fabrication of integrated circuits. Early research interests were concerned with tactile communication, sensory aids for the blind, optical character recognition, picture processing, image bandwidth compression and graphic-arts applications.

He was a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, Sigma Xi and Pi Mu Epsilon. He received the Leonard G. Abraham Prize Paper Award from the IEEE in 1971.

Visiting hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20, at Brown and Hickey Funeral Home, 36 Trapelo Road, Belmont, MA 02478. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 21, at the Belmont United Methodist Church, 421 Common St., Belmont, MA 02478. Burial will be at Highland Meadow Cemetery, Concord Avenue, Belmont, followed by a reception at the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Rector's Discretionary Fund, 24 Broadway, Rockport, MA 01966. More information is available at

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