Knox Professor Named to Endowed Chair in Computer Science

$1.3 million bequest from noted technology consultant William C. Ingersoll

July 18, 2011

John DooleyJohn Dooley, an award winning computer scientist, professor and chair of the computer science department at Knox College, has been named to the newly created William and Marilyn Ingersoll Chair in Computer Science. The Ingersoll Chair is endowed by a bequest of $1.3 million from the estate of Mr. Ingersoll, a pioneer in the field of business technology consulting.

A member of the Knox faculty since 2001, Dooley was named Senior Scientist of the Year for 2011 by the Quad City Engineering and Science Council.

Dooley teaches all levels of computer science at Knox, from introductory programming through advanced courses in software development and computer security. His classes also have provided software and Internet applications for not-for-profit organizations in Galesburg.

Dooley's research focuses on the advantages of using small teams to solve programming problems. He also studies historical and literary topics in cryptology (PDF), which is the use of computers for secret codes. He is currently researching American cryptologists Herbert Yardley and William Friedman; and Alan Turing, who worked for the British code-breaking agency during World War II and was a seminal figure in computer programming.

Dooley came to Knox after working for 20 years in the computer industry. He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics at Lindenwood College, a master's degree in computer science from Syracuse University, and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Rice University.

About William C. Ingersoll
William C. IngersollThe William and Marilyn Ingersoll Chair in Computer Science was endowed by a bequest from Mr. Ingersoll, who died in 2007. Both he and his wife, Marilyn Jones Ingersoll, a Galesburg native who died in 2005, were Knox graduates -- Mr. Ingersoll in the Class of 1951 and Mrs. Ingersoll in the Class of 1950.

Born in New Castle, Indiana, Ingersoll served in the United States Army in 1946-47. He earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics at Knox in 1951 and an MBA at Harvard University in 1953. He then joined Arthur Andersen and Company, holding positions in a number of Andersen offices, including Chicago, Boston, and New York.

Ingersoll's pathbreaking achievements in the field included consulting on the installation of the very first commercial computer in the United States, at General Electric's Appliance Park facility in Louisville, Kentucky in 1954.

He became a principal of the firm in 1962, with company-wide responsibility for all information technology policies, research and training. He retired as treasurer of Andersen in 1989.

"William Ingersoll's accomplishments demonstrate the strengths of Knox and a liberal arts education for a career in technology," Dooley said. "His accomplishments are an example of how a liberal arts background enables you to change direction and be ready to take a leadership role when new developments arise."

Mr. Ingersoll was a member of the Knox College Board of Trustees from 1973 to 2001, then a Life Trustee until his death in 2007. During the first half of the 20th century, his father Harold Ingersoll as well as his uncle Roy Ingersoll -- both Knox graduates and executives of Borg Warner Corp. -- served on the Knox College Board of Trustees. Other Knox alumni in Mr. Ingersoll's immediate family included his mother Florence Ingersoll, his sister and five brothers.

The William and Marilyn Ingersoll Chair in Computer Science is one of nine endowed chairs established through the Faculty Chair Initiative.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 48 states and 51 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.