ECE Professor Emeritus and former Vice President for Research James L. Flanagan passed away Tuesday August 25th, one day before his 90th birthday.
James L. Flanagan received the Doctor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and then joined the research division of AT&T Bell Laboratories. He served 33 years at Bell Labs, retiring in 1990 as Director, Information Principles Research. His near 200 archival publications, two books, and 50 US patents reflect his technical activities in this interval. His work on automatic speech recognition, machine synthesis of speech, and efficient signal coding influenced today's human-machine capabilities and mobile technologies. Under his aegis, electro-acoustic devices evolved, notably electret transducers and auto-directive arrays for teleconferencing. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences.
Subsequent to Bell Laboratories, Flanagan served 15 years as Board of Governors Professor and university Vice President for Research at Rutgers University. His responsibilities embraced industry-sponsored and governmental contract research, spanning computing, communications, medical engineering, signal processing, and graduate education. He served on a variety of industrial, governmental research, spanning computing, communications, medical engineering, signal processing, and graduate education. He served on a variety of industrial, governmental, and academic boards. Among his awards are the National Medal of Science, presented at the White House by the US President, the L. M. Ericsson International Prize in Telecommunications, presented in Stockholm by the King of Sweden and the IEEE Medal of Honor in 2005.
For his groundbreaking contributions IEEE established the IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award in 2002. The award is sponsored by the IEEE Signal Processing Society and is awarded to individuals for an outstanding contribution to the advancement of speech and/or audio signal processing.
In addition to his technical achievements, Dr. Flanagan excelled as a mentor of young talent who subsequently attained prominence in their respective fields.
Dr. Flanagan has received Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Paris-Sud, from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and from Mississippi State University. His early university education was interrupted by service in the US Army 1944, 45, 46. He retired in 2005 and is survived by his wife, Mildred Bell Flanagan, by his three sons, Stephen, James and Aubrey, and his five grandchildren.