Lambert R. VanderKooi obituary

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

Dr. Lambert R. VanderKooi, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at Western Michigan University, died Nov. 17, 2015, at Rose Arbor Hospice Residence in Kalamazoo. He was 80.

VanderKooi, of Portage, joined the faculty in 1970 and retired in 2000 after 30 years of service to the University. Among other accolades, he earned praise in 1983 for his work on the University committee that developed a microcomputer purchase plan for WMU students and employees during the early days of the computer revolution.

The plan was an outgrowth of Project EXCITE—Expanding With Computers and Information Technology—which promoted the use of personal computers on campus and resulted in WMU becoming the first U.S. university to make computer literacy an undergraduate requirement.

Lambert R. VanderKooi

VanderKooi was a past chairman of the Kalamazoo section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and had been a member of the Eta Kappa Nu electrical engineering honorary society. His community activities included serving on the board of the Kalamazoo Christian Schools.

Prior to coming to WMU, VanderKooi worked as a systems engineer at the Bendix Corp. in Ann Arbor from 1958 to 1961, an associate research engineer in the University of Michigan Radar and Optics Lab from 1961 to 1968 and in 1979, and an engineer at the Kelsh Instrument Co. in Ann Arbor in 1968.

He earned a Bachelor of Science from Calvin College in 1959 and specialized in electrical engineering at the University of Michigan while earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Master of Science in Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy in 1958, 1961 and 1968, respectively.


Services have been held. Friends and family may share a condolence message at The full family obituary and a message book are available at

Memorial gifts may be made to Rose Arbor Hospice Residence or to the Second Christian Reformed Church's Tuition Assistance Programs, Kalamazoo Christian Schools, Byron Center Christian School or Grand Rapids Christian Schools, in care of the funeral home.