The Joseph P. Noonan Outstanding Doctoral Research Award recognizes outstanding research contributions made during doctoral studies in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tufts University.
This award is a fitting acknowledgement of Professor Noonan’s immense contributions to Tufts and the ECE Department.
Between his years on campus as an undergraduate and graduate student in electrical engineering and then teaching, Professor Noonan was a fixture on the Medford and Somerville campus for almost forty years.
Starting in 1978, Professor Noonan served as a part-time lecturer at the School of Engineering while running his own company, Bedford Research Associates, a mathematical analysis and scientific software firm. In 1985, he was appointed an associate professor of electrical engineering at Tufts, received tenure in 1990, was promoted to the rank of professor in 2000, and served as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2005 to 2007. In 1992, Noonan received the Lillian and Joseph Leibner Award for Distinguished Teaching and Advising. He retired in 2012 and was honored with the title of professor emeritus.
Professor Noonan’s expertise was statistical communication theory, which seeks to understand and mitigate the problem of noise and interference in electronic communication devices and systems through the use of advanced mathematics. He published more than one hundred papers in scientific journals and conference proceedings and was granted a U.S. patent.
Professor Joseph P. Noonan passed away in April 2018, at the age of 73. “Professor Noonan will be greatly missed by all those he touched in his accomplished life, and by the Tufts community that has been enriched by his expertise and his dedication to students,” said Jianmin Qu, Karol Family Professor and dean of the School of Engineering, in a message to the Tufts community at the time of his passing.
“Students remembered him as a fair teacher who rewarded hard work, participation, and effort, and who made difficult material fun to learn,” Qu said.
The Noonan Doctoral Research Award was established in 2013 as a way to honor this beloved professor and mentor while supporting the next generation of students in electrical and computer engineering. With Dr. Noonan’s premature passing in 2018, the award has taken on new meaning and importance.