William W. Middleton

William W. Middleton
William W. Middleton
Death date
Fields of study
IEEE Haraden Pratt Award


William W. Middleton was a leader in the field of electrical engineering and communications.

Middleton was born on 24 October 1920. He became a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) as a Student Member in 1942. He graduated from Penn State in 1947 with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. Following graduation, he joined Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania where he was assigned to the engineering department in Harrisburg, Pa. Over the years he served in various managerial capacities in the engineering department in all disciplines as well as assignments in the plant and accounting departments. Middleton retired in December 1983 as Division Manager, Business Services Engineering with some thirty-six years of service.

Mr. Middleton's early IEEE involvement included affiliation with the Lehigh Valley Section of AIEE and the Harrisburg Sub-Section of the Philadelphia Section of IRE. From this time, his interests in IEEE have spread across Section, Region and Institute level activities. A job move to Philadelphia in 1963 transferred his efforts to the Philadelphia Section where, after a variety of assignments, he was elected Section Chairman for 1968-1969 and later served as Chairman of the Professional Relations and Awards Committees, and in other ad hoc capacities. Mr. Middleton spent several years as Chairman of the Member Services Committee of RAB. This led to Region activities and he was elected Director in Region 2 for 1975-1976. This assignment resulted in involvement in the evolving United States Activities Board, and work on the Audit Committee. Over the years, he has been on the Internal Communications Committee, a special Institute level conference committee, Transnational Relations Committee and others. More recently, Middleton has been involved in awards activities, having served on the Edison and Founders Medal Committees, the latter as Chairman 1979-1980, and as RAB representative to the Awards Board. He also is Chairman of the Region 2 Awards and Recognition Committee and the RAB Awards and Recognition Committee and serves on the Awards Planning and Policy Committee of the Institute.

He has been active for many years in the Communications Society, serving on the COMSOC Board of Governors, the Communications Society Conference Board, Chairman of the Wire Communications Committee (now Transycom) and a member of the Terminals Committee. Middleton served as General Chairman of ICC-76. He was the recipient of the Donald H. Maclellan Meritorious Service Award of the Communications Society in 1982. He is also a member of IAS Engineering Management Society and the Social Implications of Technology Society. He is a member of the IEEE Centennial Task Force and Chairman of the Member Conduct Committee.

For many years Middleton has been involved in activities of the National Society of Professional Engineers, The Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers, and its Chapters. He is a past President of the Pennsylvania Society and the Philadelphia Chapter, and has served in many roles and committee assignments. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of the Pennsylvania Society in 1982. As with IEEE he has been active on the national scene in NSPE, having served as a Director in 1975-1976 and a chairman of its Ethics and Engineering Technology Committees and has served on other committees. He served as a trustee of the Engineering Technologist Certification Institute 1977-1982.

In his retirement, Middleton lived with his wife, Joyce, in St. David’s, Pennsylvania, where he pursued his interests in antique fire apparatus and tinkering.

Middleton won the 1984 IEEE Haraden Pratt Award 'For meritorious service to the Institute and dedicated service to the Communications Society and to Region 2.' In 1990, he was named the first recipient of the William W. Middleton Distinguished Service Award of the IEEE Regional Activities Board - an award named to honor his long career of outstanding contributions to the IEEE Regional Activities Board and the regional operations of the IEEE. He was also a 2000 Millennium Medal recipient.

Middleton died on 12 August 2000.

Further Reading

IEEE Section Leadership, 1972, a video on Section Leadership narrated by Bill Middleton

International Conference on Communications, 1976, Promotional video for the conference, hosted by Bill Middleton, describing the conference, its activities, and concluding with showing historical images of Philadelphia.

IEEE SCOOP, Section/Chapter Officer Orientation Program, featuring Middleton in the Volunteer advisory group