Skip to main content

in this section

Wagner receives award for teaching distinction

Friday, November 6, 2015

Aaron Wagner, Associate Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has received the Douglas Whitney ’61 Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Engineering. This is the highest award for teaching in the College. Nominated by faculty from the School, Wagner was selected by a committee comprised of former teaching prizewinners from within the College of Engineering.

Wagner began his teaching and research career as a postdoctoral research associate in the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell. He did graduate work in EECS at the University of California, Berkeley and received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Wagner studies problems at the intersection of information theory and other fields including networking, statistics, queueing theory, security, computational linguistics, and learning. He is particularly interested in network information theory, distributed compression and its application to peer-to-peer networks, secure communication over timing and photonic channels, and communication and classification in learning-limited environments. He is a founding member of the Foundations of Information Engineering (FOIE) Lab.

Wagner has received a number of awards for his research and teaching including the Cornell Michael Tien ’72 Excellence in Teaching Award from Cornell Engineering (2009), the NSF CAREER Award (2007), the David J. Sakrison Memorial Prize from the U.C. Berkeley EECS Department (2006), and the Bernard Friedman Memorial Prize in Applied Mathematics from the U.C. Berkeley Department of Mathematics (2005). Two of his students won the 2010 Information Theory Society Student Paper Award.

Douglas E. Whitney received the B.Ch.E. degree from Cornell University in 1962, then earned a J.D. at Columbia Law School in 1965. He worked in patent litigation in New York and Boston and is now a patent litigator and senior partner at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell in Wilmington, Delaware. His firm consistently has been ranked among the top ones in the country in the number of new patent cases filed or defended.

"In school and in my legal career, I’ve found that engineers who are able to communicate effectively achieve much more success in all fields,” said Douglas E. Whitney ’61, B.Ch.E. ’62. “I wanted to support the dean’s awards program because I think excellent teachers in any discipline impart good communications skills, not only through classroom assignment but also through their daily example. Cornell’s teachers epitomize the best of that kind."

Discover more about Professor Aaron Wagner and his work at and

Learn more about ­Douglas E. Whitney at

back to listing