Wilson Greatbatch of 5220 Donnington Rd., Clarence, inventor of the implantable cardiac pacemaker, was presented with the "Dean's Award for Engineering Achievement" at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) School of Engineering and Applied Sciences commencement exercises recently.
The Dean's Award is the highest honor granted by the Faculty of the Engineering and Applied Sciences College.
Greatbatch, who received his BS degree from Cornell University in 1950, was awarded an MS degree in engineering from UB in 1957. Houghton College granted him an honorary DCs degree in 1970.
Serving as chairman of the board of Wilson Greatbatch Ltd., 1000 Wehrle Dr., Clarence, and former vice president of Mennen-Greatbatch Electronics, Inc., 10123 Main St., Clarence, Greatbatch is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.
These include UB's 125th Anniversary Award and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers' Wilson Browder Award.
He invented the implantable cardiac pacemaker after research extending from 1958 to 1970. By 1970, over 50,000 of the devices had been manufactured under his design control.
The early pacemakers had an average life expectancy of under two years, however, and over 80 percent of pacemaker removals were necessitated by premature battery failure. In 1970, Wilson Greatbatch Ltd. was incorporated to produce and market implantable power sources, making "lifetime" pacemakers possible.
During 1977, over 100,000 pacemaker batteries were produced and delivered to manufacturers worldwide.
Greatbatch holds more than 60 patents and has written over 50 publications on medical electronics.