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In Memoriam: John Ballard

Dec 01, 2022   |   Dartmouth Engineer

John W. Ballard '55 Tu'55 Th'55

— 1933-2022 —

"We knew a lively and loving leader."

John W. Ballard

Longtime Thayer Board member John Ballard died on April 30, 2022, in Los Altos Hills, Calif. He joined the board in 1989 and served as chair from 1998 to 2007, a time of extraordinary growth and accomplishment. Under Ballard's leadership, the school saw increases of 32 percent in its alumni fund, 124 percent in faculty-funded research, and 107 percent in its endowment. In addition, the school completed the construction of the MacLean Engineering Sciences Center was completed and founded the nonprofit Angeli Parvi to support development and commercialization of Dartmouth research.

"He was a wonderful combination of instinctive entrepreneur, undying and loyal son of Dartmouth, proud member of the US military during the Cold War, Irish storyteller, wonderful husband, father, and grandfather, and the proud chief of the Ballard clan," says longtime board member and former chair Terry McGuire Th'82. "For those at Thayer during John's tenure, we knew a lively and loving leader and partner."

US Navy service as an aviator and officer of an electronic countermeasures squadron in Japan led to a lifelong passion with radio communications equipment. In 1960, Ballard joined Granger Associates, a producer of radio equipment, as a design engineer and moved up to become vice president and general manager. In 1968, he cofounded Technology for Communications International (TCI), which focused on the design and supply of specialized radio systems for clients in more than 130 countries. Thirty years later, Ballard cofounded Radio Propagation Services Inc. to supply real-time information to specialized users worldwide.

His gave tirelessly to Dartmouth, including service on several College and Thayer fundraising committees, as a member of the Thayer Mentor Network, and as a strong supporter of the Dartmouth Society of Engineers and the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship. In recognition of his efforts, the College honored him with an Alumni Council Award and Thayer named him a Sylvanus Thayer Fellow in 1988 and bestowed its highest honor, the Robert Fletcher Award in 1998.

Ballard's wife of 63 years, Sue, predeceased him in 2020. He is survived by children John, Ann, Katherine, Mary, Christine, and Cynthia and their families, including grandchildren John Ballard '07 Th'07, Monica Martin de Bustamante '08 Th'09, and Kelsey Kittelsen '17.

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