Ruth and Joel Spira Excellence in Teaching Mathematics Awards

These awards are made possible by a generous donation by Ruth and Joel Spira.

Joel S. Spira received a B.S. in Physics from Purdue in 1948. In 1961, he started Lutron Electronics, a privately held company that initially made light dimmers. Joel's insight into technology and manufacturing enabled him to build Lutron into a dominant force in the dimmer market. He pioneered the concept of mass customization in which customized dimmers could be produced at mass production costs. Joel was early to integrate semiconductor intelligence into his products. Today, Lutron offers sophisticated dimmers in several thousand product variations.

In 1998, Joel Spira was chosen for the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Purdue College of Science.

Joel's commitment to excellence is not confined to his business. In 1988, he established an annual award of $1,000 for teaching excellence in the Department of Physics at Purdue at the same time that he set up similar awards at schools all over the country. Recently awards have been established for excellence in mathematics teaching at Purdue.

Joel Spira, founder, Chairman, and Director of Research of Lutron Electronics, passed away on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

Joel Spira obituary