William H. Tranter, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of “professor emeritus” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the Board of Visitors by Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive an emeritus certificate from the university.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1997, Tranter is credited as a pioneer in the field of communications and simulation. During his career, he wrote chapters for several books, published more than 75 research journal and conference papers, and secured external research funding in excess of $3 million.

Tranter was co-author of several widely used undergraduate textbooks in the communications area. His first book (with R.E. Ziemer), "Principles of Communications Systems: Systems, Modulation and Noise," was first published in 1976 and is now in its seventh edition.

His second book (with R.E. Ziemer and D.R. Fannin), "Signals and Systems: Continuous and Discrete," was one of the first undergraduate textbooks to cover both analog and digital systems in a single volume.

Shortly after his arrival at Virginia Tech, Tranter was tasked with developing a then-unique distance-learning educational program, which evolved into what is now the Masters of Information Technology Program. This program has continually won accolades, including being ranked No. 2 in the nation for several years in a row by U.S. News & World Report in its annual Top Online Education rankings.

He also developed new computer simulation programs that now set the standard for computer usage in the curriculum and authored (with Woerner, Reed, and Rappaport), "Wireless Personal Communications."

Tranter is a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE). He was chair of a number of technical committees within the IEEE Communications Society. He was editor-in-chief of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, served as director of Journals for the Communications Society, and was elected to the Board of Governors. 

He also served on the IEEE Awards Board, served as chair of the Alexander Graham Bell Award Committee, and was elected vice-president-Technical Activities of the IEEE Communications Society. 

Tranter received an IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984, a Millennium Medal in 2000, the Donald McLellan Meritorious Service Award from the IEEE Communications Society in 2000, and the Publications Exemplary Service Award in 2001.

In the classroom, Tranter taught a wide range of courses from the senior level to advanced doctoral levels. He was the advisor to many undergraduate and graduate students during his career and served as the graduate advisor for nine master’s degree students and five Ph.D. students. Tranter also served as assistant department head for the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for four years, overseeing the department’s graduate program.

Tranter received a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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