H. Vincent Poor, who served as Princeton's dean of engineering from 2006 to 2016, has been awarded the Benjamin Garver Lamme Award, honoring more than four decades of contributions to engineering education.
As dean, Poor ushered in an era of major growth for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The number of undergraduate majors grew by 76 percent during this period, a rise that has continued steadily through today. Over the same time, he led the way in expanding the school’s research initiatives with the creation of interdisciplinary centers in energy and the environment and information technology policy. Prior to becoming dean, Poor served as the founding director of the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education.
The award also recognizes his advances in electrical engineering. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, Poor is an authority on wireless communications and signal processing. His graduate-level textbook, “An Introduction to Signal Detection and Estimation,” is considered the definitive reference in its field. He has mentored and advised more than 100 Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers throughout his career, and his research has received more than 80,000 citations.
Poor believes the growth of engineering at Princeton has been especially important in the context of the University’s strong liberal arts tradition. “We live in a technological world,” he said. “Even the students who aren’t going to study engineering really need to have some appreciation for technology. They’re going to become the leaders of their generation.”
He will once again guide the engineering school as interim dean, starting July 1 of this year, when outgoing dean Emily Carter leaves to become executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Poor earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Auburn University, and completed a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science at Princeton in 1977. Currently the Michael Henry Strater University Professor of Electrical Engineering, he joined the Princeton faculty in 1990 after 13 years at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. He also has held visiting positions at a number of other institutions, including Berkeley, Cambridge and Stanford.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, the World Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, among many other honors.
The Lamme Award comes from the American Society for Engineering Education, established by a group of professors, during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, who believed engineering education should eschew then-popular apprenticeship models to stress teaching the fundamentals of science and mathematics.