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Memorial Tributes, Volume 12
KENNETH W. HAMMING 1918–2005
Elected in 1974
“For leadership in the design of large scale fossil-fuel andnuclear power plants.”
BY WILLIAM A. CHITTENDEN
KENNETH W. HAMMING, senior partner of Sargent & Lundy (S&L), one of the leading power plant design engineering firms in the world, an accomplished freshwater sailor, an accomplished musician, and a philanthropist, died on December 21, 2005, at the age of 87.
Born in the Albany Park Community of Chicago on September 22, 1918, Ken’s family moved eight years later to the North Park area in time for him to witness the replacement of the Swedish Covenant Church, where he first recalled hearing an organ “speak.” This experience may have inspired his lifelong interest in organs and pianos.
In 1935, Ken made the easy choice of attending the college next door to his home, North Park College, which he passed daily when he was growing up. Based on his interest in mechanical engineering, coupled with his strong desire to escape the demands of preparing for piano recitals, he enrolled in the preengineering curriculum. Following his graduation from North Park in 1937, he entered the General Engineering Program at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where he received a B.S. in January 1940.
After graduation, Ken joined the Chicago consulting engineering firm of S&L, where he was initially assigned to the mechanical drafting room. Soon, however, he was transferred