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March 9, 2022

ECE alumnus Keith Nosbusch to receive honorary degree from UW-Madison

Written By: Staff

Keith Nosbusch (BSEE ’74), an alumnus of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will receive an honorary degree at spring commencement in May, 2022 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Keith Nosbusch

Nosbusch is one of only three individuals selected for the honor this year. The others are Krishna Ella, a leading scientist and entrepreneur in the field of vaccines and Ernest Grant, a distinguished leader in nursing specializing in burn care.

“Honorary degrees from UW–Madison recognize individuals who have shown outstanding service to humanity, often on a global scale,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “I cannot think of three more worthy individuals. They have used their talent, creativity and generosity to greatly enhance our lives, vividly embodying the Wisconsin Idea.”

After graduation, Nosbusch, a Milwaukee native, began his career at the Allen-Bradley Company, later to become Rockwell Automation. He simultaneously pursued a master’s degree, earning an MBA from UW–Milwaukee in 1978.

During his 42-year career at Rockwell Automation, Nosbusch held many leadership positions serving as chairman of the board and CEO of the company between 2004 and 2016.

Under his leadership, Rockwell became the dominant industrial automation company in North America, with business in more than 80 countries. His vision for “The Connected Enterprise” helped spur the smart manufacturing revolution. The approach, consisting of an integrated control and information architecture, enables the customer’s plant floor to be securely and seamlessly connected throughout the enterprise and across facilities located anywhere in the world.

In 2016, Nosbusch was recognized by Smart Manufacturing magazine as one of “30 visionaries” who have had the foresight to develop and adopt cutting-edge digital technologies and drive manufacturing into a new era of competitiveness.

Throughout his career, Nosbusch also worked to create an organizational culture where every employee could perform their best work. In 2017, Catalyst, a nonprofit that promotes inclusivity for women and other people underrepresented in the workplace, honored Rockwell Automation with its prestigious Catalyst Award. Ethisphere Institute recognized Rockwell Automation as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” eight times during Nosbusch’s tenure as CEO. He is widely known for his focused philanthropic strategy and advocacy of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

“Keith is an exemplary alumnus, epitomizing both the spirit of innovation and a focus on the greater good that are hallmarks of a UW–Madison education,” says Susan C. Hagness, Philip Dunham Reed professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which nominated Nosbusch. “With his future-focused mindset and dedication to human values and education, Keith not only improved his company, but is improving the world and the lives of students in Wisconsin and beyond.”

Nosbusch’s commitment to providing pathways to, and broadening participation in, a STEM education extends to his alma mater. He championed the full-tuition Rockwell Automation Corporate Scholarships at UW–Madison.

UW–Madison’s honorary degrees will be conferred at the commencement ceremony for all doctoral, MFA and medical professional degree candidates at 5:30 p.m. May 13 at the Kohl Center.

A version of this story was originally posted by University Communications.