History Committee: The Origin of Major EMC Society Awards

As part of the EMC Society’s celebration of its 50 years of existence, the History Committee of the EMCS has been reviewing past Newsletters and other Society material for interesting and informative aspects of the Society’s past. One of the areas investigated was the origin of the major awards of the EMC Society. In a previous issue of this Newsletter, the origin and history of the Richard R. Stoddart Award was reviewed and reported.
In this issue, we are examining the Laurence G. Cumming Award.

Laurence G. Cumming Award for Outstanding Service to the Society
The Laurence G. Cumming Award is named after Laurence Gordon Cumming, an early and strong influence on the formation of the EMC Society. The award is given annually “to recognize the outstanding service of an EMC Society Member in contributing to the administration and overall success of the Society.” The prize is a beautiful bronze plaque. A member can only win the award once. Only one award is given each year.
It was first presented in 1979 to Leonard W. Thomas, Jr. who was secretary of the EMC Society from 1966 – 1981. Recent winners have included:

2003 – Heyno Garbe
2002 – Elya Joffe
2001 – David Staggs
2000 – Andrew Drozd
1999 – Motohisa Kanda
1998 – Kimball Williams
1997 – Mike Hatfield

Background of Laurence Gordon Cumming
He was born in 1902 and was one of the early pioneers in radio broadcasting. He died in 1973 and the age of 71.
He retired from the United States Navy and joined the Institute of Radio Engineering (IRE) as Technical Secretary. He became an Associate Member in 1927, a Senior Member in 1946, and he was elected a Fellow in 1966. He became a Life Fellow in 1967.
As Technical Secretary of the Institute of Radio Engineering (IRE) Technical and Professional Groups from 1946 to 1962, he was instrumental in organizing the Group structure of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He was involved with the administrative duties of 25 Technical Committees. He attended meetings in New York and in other cities to accomplish his duties. His responsibility grew to include 32 professional groups and required attendance at technical and executive meetings of these groups.
In 1960, his title was changed to Professional Group Secretary.
Following the merger that created the IEEE in 1963, Laurence served the IEEE as Field Secretary for two years.
He was also secretary of the Joint Technical Advisory Committee from 1948 to 1965.
The success of the technical professional group organization of the IEEE is in a large part due to the dedicated service of Larry Cumming in assisting in the organization of each group and in taking a concerned interest in the continuing success of the group. He was mentioned in the first EMC Newsletter (The Professional Group on Radio Frequency Interference Newsletter – Number 1 – January 2, 1958) as being a significant contributor of time and effort to get the Professional Group on RFI organized. He attended Administrative meetings of the Professional Group on RFI in their early years to assist in their administrative decision-making duties.
He attended the 1962 EMC Symposium (Fourth National Symposium on Radio Frequency Interference), held in San Francisco, and accepted a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of Rexford Daniels, who was unable to make the symposium.
He was a member of the committee of the 1968 IEEE Symposium on EMC held in Seattle, Washington; he was involved with the publicity of the symposium. He was the Chairman of the Publications Committee of the 1968 EMC Group.
He was also a member of and active on the EMC Society Administrative Committee from 1968 through 1970.
The Laurence G. Cumming Award of the EMC Society is awarded for “outstanding service” to the Society by one of its members. It is intended for a member who has had a long-term service record to the Society as a reminder of Laurence Cumming’s long-term service to the Professional Group on RFI. EMC

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