IIT Trustee and Alumnus Martin Cooper to be Honored with Engineers Week Washington Award

IIT alumnus and Life Trustee Martin Cooper will be honored with the Chicagoland Engineers Week‘s Washington Award for his contributions to the technology of personal wireless communications. Presentation of the award will take place at the Engineers Week Washington Award Banquet on Friday, February 24, 2012 at the University Club of Chicago.

The Washington Award, one of the first national engineering awards, was developed in 1916. It is named after George Washington, as a reminder that the nation’s first president was an engineer whose achievements have advanced the welfare of humanity. IIT alumnus and Trustee Martin C. Jischke (’63) was honored with the Washington Award in February 2011.

Cooper is a pioneer in the wireless communications industry, an inventor, entrepreneur and executive. He has had been a contributor to the technology of personal wireless communications for more than 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 research and development 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 (’50, ’57) and an honorary doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology.