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About ComSoc

Plaque, certificate, and honorarium of $1000.

To recognize an industry executive or leader whose leadership has resulted in major and outstanding contributions to humanity through the application or use of information and communications technology.

An information or communications industry executive who played a major leadership role in research or development and introduction of systems, devices, applications or services that have significantly impacted humanity through availability and use of such technologies in developing or under-served areas, improving the well-being of people, or enabling their access to emergency and other basic services. The candidate is not required to be an IEEE member. Self-nominations are not allowed.

Basis for Judging
Executive leadership applying advances in information and communications technology so that they have a substantial impact on humanitarian needs and objectives. Evaluation is based on such factors as widespread acceptance of the products and services, meeting humanitarian objectives, ubiquity of the products and services in under-served or underdeveloped regions or communities, emulation of the contributions by others, and degree of global recognition of the candidate by humanitarian and other organizations. Other factors include time of service, impact, specific innovations, etc.

Nominee Solicitation
Nominations will be solicited each year, up to the nominations deadline decided by the Awards Committee. Nominations will be openly solicited; however, nominations will also be received from a Nominations Committee appointed by the President of the Communications Society.

The award will be presented at either a major Communications Society annual event or an industry venue appropriate to the recipient, such venue being chosen by mutual agreement of ComSoc and the recipient. The award will not be conferred in any given year if a suitable candidate is not identified. No more than one award will be given in any calendar year (January 1 – December 31).

Administration and Funding
The honorarium will be funded out of Communications Society’s annual operating budget. The Society/Council's budget includes the amount for this award AND the Society/Council budget is net positive with the inclusion of the award. No travel costs are to be paid.

Robert M. Walp
Robert M. Walp

Robert M. Walp, IEEE Life Fellow, was a great visionary, passionate humanitarian and ardent supporter of IEEE and ComSoc.

He was the father of Alaskan satellite communications, who led a state effort to establish the Rural Alaska Television Network (RATNET), a satellite telecommunications system employing earth stations in bush communities. This ushered rural Alaska into the modern world. In 1979 he founded a progressive company called General Communications Inc. (GCI) that continues to benefit the Alaskan public by providing modern telecommunications services, engendering competition and rate reductions.


2023 Award Recipient

No Award



2022 - No Award
2021 - No Award

2020 - No Award
2019 - Edward G. Tiedemann, Jr.