The IEEE Communications Society said goodbye to one of its giants in 2019. William Harrington Tranter (S’63, M’68, SM’80, F’85, LF’05) passed away May 5, 2019. He was 79. Bill was a highly acclaimed researcher and educator in the communications field, and played a major role in the IEEE Communications Society throughout his entire career. Bill was the co-author of several widely used undergraduate and graduate textbooks on communications, including Signals and Systems and Principles of Communications, which he wrote with Rodger Ziemer.
Bill began his academic career when he joined the electrical engineering faculty of the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1969. While there, he served as an Assistant/ Associate Dean of Engineering from 1980 to 1985. He was also named the Schlumberger Professor in 1985. In 1997, he moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, and joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at Virginia Tech as the Bradley Professor until his retirement. He served as a Program Director (Communications, Information Theory, and Networking) with the National Science Foundation from 2009 to 2011. Bill was always involved with IEEE, and with the Communications Society in particular, and served as a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Communications Society, was the Vice President–Technical Activities, the Director of Journals, and served an 11-year term as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, where he helped usher in special issues on wireless communications. Bill enjoyed his time in both Rolla and Blacksburg, and moved to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after retiring from Virginia Tech. He is survived by his wife, Judy, of 57 years, and his daughter Elizabeth (Beth Ann) and son John.
Bill will always be fondly remembered as a beloved and compassionate teacher, an exceptional researcher, an ardent and committed volunteer to the IEEE Communications Society, and a wonderful husband and father, always with a perpetual good sense of humor.
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Curtis Siller | 23 August 2022
While I served as Director of Magazines in the late '90's, Bill was my "side-kick" as Director of Journals. We developed a close friendship that lasted until his death in spring 2019. He is much missed by me, his wife, children Beth and John, and the technical community he served.