2011-2012 Commencement Speaker: Martin Cooper

Wireless pioneer, father of the handheld mobile phone, and IIT trustee Martin Cooper will be the commencement speaker for the 2011-2012 Illinois Institute of Technology Commencement ceremony, to be held at 10 am on Saturday, May 12, 2012, on the Main Campus.

Martin Cooper is a pioneer in the wireless communications industry, an inventor, entrepreneur and executive. He has been a contributor to the technology of personal wireless communications for over 50 years. He conceived the first portable cellular phone in 1973 and is cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for making the first cellular telephone call.

Cooper knew then that people needed the freedom that comes from anywhere, anytime telephony in contrast to being tethered to a desk or a car. He has been referred to as the father of portable cellular telephony and is recognized as an innovator in spectrum management.

Cooper was a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, a division manager and head of R&D for Motorola during a  29 year tenure. As an entrepreneur he has started a number of businesses including co-founding GreatCall, Inc., maker of the Jitterbug phone and service and ArrayComm, the world leader in smart antenna technology.

Cooper was an inaugural member of the WHF Wireless Hall of Fame, Red Herring magazine named him one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurs of 2000, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Business named him a Transformation Technology Change Leader and he is a recipient of the IEEE Centennial Medal.

In 2010, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Science and Technology. In March, 2011 Cooper was nominated for the “Mikhail Gorbachev: The Man Who Changed the World” Award.

Cooper holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and an honorary doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology. He serves on the IIT Board of Trustees.