Alumni Award Presentation - Dr. David Forney ’54

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The Alumni Council is pleased to announce that Dr. David Forney ’54 will be the recipient of the 2016 Alumni Award. Mr. Forney will return to campus on May 20, to accept the honor and also to share with Middle/Upper School students, alumni and guests highlights of his unique career as a pioneer in the field of data communications. All are welcome to attend. 

The Alumni Award is presented each year to honor an alumna or alumnus who best embodies the statement from the school’s mission, “New Canaan Country School inspires students to be lifelong learners with the courage and confidence to make a positive contribution to the world.”

“Dave Forney has made tremendous contributions to the field of data communications,” said Head of School Dr. Robert P. Macrae.  “His career and passion for electrical engineering led to his design of the first coding system to go into space as well as the first high-speed modem.  In this ever-changing world of technology and telecommunications, we very much look forward to welcoming Dave back to campus.”

Dr. Forney received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1961, and M.S. and Sc.D degrees in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T. in 1963 and 1965. In 1965, he joined Codex Corporation, where he designed the first coding system to go into space, involving a convolutional code with sequential decoding, for a NASA Pioneer deep-space mission in 1968.  In 1970, he developed the first modern high-speed telephone line modem.  He has been an adjunct professor at MIT since 1996.

Forney was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1973, a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1983, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003.  This year, Forney will also receive the IEEE Medal of Honor, the highest award bestowed by the organization.

Questions about the 2016 Alumni Award may be directed to Director of Alumni Affairs Gina Ely, or (203) 801-5687.


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