Wayne Stark retires after 41 years advancing the field of wireless communications

Prof. Stark’s career focused on wireless communications, error control coding, and spread-spectrum communications.
Wayne Stark
Prof. Wayne Stark at the 2021 Wireless Symposium held in his honor.

Prof. Wayne Stark began his career at Michigan as an assistant professor the same year he received his doctoral degree, 1982. He will retire effective December 31, 2023, after 41 years advancing the field of wireless communications and educating countless undergraduate and graduate students.

Professor Stark’s research was focused on digital communication theory and practice, with particular emphasis on wireless communications, spread-spectrum communications, and error control coding theory. He had strong industrial ties, spending sabbatical years at IBM, Ericsson and Microsoft and consulting for various companies including Ericsson and Uhnder, which was co-founded by former student Manju Hegde.

Prof. Stark published more than 200 refereed journal articles and conference proceedings, authored 6 book chapters, authored more than a dozen U.S. patents, and one textbook. He graduated 39 Ph.D. students.

He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of probability, analog communications, signal and systems, digital communications, information theory, communication networks, software-defined radio, and channel coding theory.  He also taught a University of Michigan summer short course on spread-spectrum communications and its applications (1993-96), and introduced and taught a wireless communication camp for high school students (2010-2011). 

Students in a lab with communications equipment
Students in the summer tech camp created by Prof. Wayne Stark in 2010.

In the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, he served as Associate Chair for the former division of Electrical Engineering: Systems (1997-2000), and as area director for networking, communications and information systems (2015-2022). He served on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (2007-2010), the Rules Committee (2014-17), the Scholastic Standing Committee (2021-22) and the International Programs in Engineering Advisory Committee (2021-22).  

He was Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Communications (1985-89) and guest editor for numerous special issues for the IEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Communications on wireless communications and wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA). He was a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Information Theory Society (1985-88).  He also co-organized the 1986 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, held in Ann Arbor, MI.

In 2021, Prof. Stark was honored at the event, Wireless Communications: A Symposium Honoring Prof. Wayne Stark. Several of his former students and colleagues gave talks.

Group photo in front of the Michigan Union.
Prof. Wayne Stark (third from the left, front row) with several former students and colleagues at his 2021 Symposium.

Prof. Stark received an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1985), the IEEE MILCOM Board Technical Achievement Award (2002), and the IEEE Military Communications Conference Ellersick Best Paper Award (2009).  He is an IEEE Fellow, “For contributions to the theory and practice of coding and modulation in spread-spectrum systems.”

Division News; Wayne Stark