September 17, 2010

The LSU community lost one of its most dedicated faculty members when Jorge L. Aravena, PhD, passed away Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge. Dr. Aravena was an LSU professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) since 1984, interim chairman of the ECE Department from June 2008 to June 2010, and chairman of the ECE Department from July 2010 until his death. He was also an incredibly supportive father, an inspirational mentor and advisor, and a loving and devoted husband. He was 65 years old.

Aravena is survived by his wife of 43 years, Joyce Cuartas Aravena; daughter, Pamela Aravena LeJeune; son-in-law, Larry LeJeune; daughter, Veronica C. Aravena; and other relatives. Visitation will be held at Rabenhorst Funeral Home East, 11000 Florida Blvd., on Monday, Sept. 20, from 6 pm to 8 pm. In lieu of flowers, the Aravena family would prefer memorial donations to the LSU Foundation for the Jorge L. Aravena Memorial Scholarship at LSU Foundation, 3838 W. Lakeshore Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. For more information, please contact Tammy Abshire at (337) 501-5696 or at

Students are welcome to come together Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., in room 1119 of Patrick F. Taylor Hall, to reflect on and celebrate the life of Aravena and his contributions to the LSU community. Faculty, staff and alumni are also invited to this time of reflection to remember a wonderful member of the ECE family.

A native of Santiago, Chile, Aravena received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Chile. He received his PhD in computer, information and control engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research interests included system theory, computer-based control systems, and signal processing, in particular, the application of artificial intelligence tools.

“Dr. Aravena was a revered and well-respected colleague and educator to many of us at LSU. His 30 years of service with the University provided him a long familiarity with LSU and a deep commitment to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ” said College of Engineering Dean Rick Koubek. “His death leaves a large void in our hearts and in the engineering profession.”

During his tenure at LSU, Aravena served as ECE graduate advisor, chairman of the graduate studies committee, systems area coordinator and served on many university level committees. While he volunteered for activities related to international education, he was most proud of his student involvement, both as mentor and as advisor.

While he was engaged in his research experiences, his greatest joy came from interacting with students. In 2005, LSU students were asked to identify faculty and members of the campus community who had significantly influenced their undergraduate careers. Professor Aravena was one of six individuals identified and featured through “LSU Highlights” for the impact he had on undergraduate students. He also served as the faculty advisor to the IEEE student chapter for many years and was a regular judge at the Louisiana State Science & Engineering Fair.

When not tackling current projects or mentoring students, Aravena enjoyed the art of photography. “I love to tweak pictures with image editors, do slide shows, albums for my daughters. I am trying to learn video editing and work on the movies that Joyce takes. My dream job is to be a nature photographer for National Geographic,” said Aravena.

Over the years, Aravena was invited by the National Science Foundation to serve on several evaluation panels in addition to being a proposal reviewer. He authored or coauthored over 40 articles in archival journals, five chapters in books and more than 70 presentations at technical conferences. He was a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

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Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, 225-578-5706,

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