Murray J. (BSEE ’43) and Ruth M. Harpole created the Harpole Professorship in Electrical Engineering in 2000 to support senior-level professors who provide leadership in developing ECpE academic courses and research programs, seek interdisciplinary applications of teaching and research concepts, and promote communication and interaction with industry.
Murray began his career on the Manhattan Project for development of the atomic bomb, and his next 20 years included a variety of research and development work, including serving as project director in the development of the “Alvin” research submarine. He also served as chairman and CEO of Pentair, a global, diversified manufacturing company that he co-founded. Today the company is a global leader in water handling equipment and industrial enclosures for electrical and electronic equipment, with annual sales of nearly $3 billion and more than 13,000 employees. After his retirement, Murray wrote a book on developing a new company, titled Living the American Dream — Pentair, Inc., the First Twenty-five Years. Murray was inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame and received the College of Engineering’s Professional Achievement Citation in Engineering in 1985.
The Harpoles have supported Iowa State in numerous ways, including major gifts to the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex, creation of the Murray and Ruth Harpole Graduate Fellowship, in addition to the Harpole Professorship, and a leadership gift for the renovation of Coover Hall. In 1987, Murray received the Anson Marston Medal. He served on the ECpE department’s External Advisory Board. Murray and Ruth received the ISU Foundation’s 2005 Order of the Knoll Campanile Award for service and generosity that advanced the excellence of Iowa State.
Murray passed away in May 2011 at the age of 89.