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Robert M. Gagliardi, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, 77

A USC Communications Faculty Member For More Than 45 Years

July 06, 2012 —


Robert M. Gagliardi, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at USC, passed away on February 3, 2012 at his home in Palm Desert, CA.

 Born on April 7, 1934 in New Haven, CT, Gagliardi received his BSEE degree in Electrical Engineering in 1956 from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.  He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Yale University in 1957 and 1960, respectively.  He joined the Space Systems Division of Hughes Aircraft Co., Culver City, CA in 1960, working on the design of telemetry and communication systems.  He joined the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering in 1961, and retired in 2006 as Professor Emeritus.

 Gagliardi was one of the founding members of the internationally renowned Communication Sciences Institute (CSI), a group of more than 15 faculty members with common research interests in wireless, satellite and optical communications, information theory, quantum information processing, error-correcting coding, encryption and applications.  Along with the CSI faculty, Dr. Gagliardi helped develop many basic research ideas that are now key elements of practical systems enabling the global communications revolution.

 He has served as a consultant to numerous industrial companies and government agencies, and was author or co-author of seven textbooks, including Introduction to Communication Engineering: Second Edition(Wiley, 1988), Satellite Communications: Second Edition (Van Nostrand, 1991), Optical Communications: Second Edition (Wiley, 1995), and Optical Channels (Plenum Press, 1988).

 Dr. Gagliardi was a member of the Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Xi honorary societies, a member of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), and was recognized for his technical achievements as a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

 He is survived by his wife Mary Anne and three children, Robert, Cinda, and Sherry.

 Many former USC faculty and colleagues commented on his passing:

 William C. Lindsey: “He was very devoted to his profession, to his students, to student advising, to the Viterbi School of Electrical Engineering and, above all, his family.  At USC he pioneered the applications ofsatellite and optical communications and taught these subjects from a Systems Engineering perspective.  His teaching was second to none and his classes were always full of students eager to learn about these subjects.”

 Andrew Viterbi: "My profound condolences to Mrs. Gagliardi.  I first met Bob at my Ph.D. qualifying exam in 1961, which he attended as an observer having just joined the faculty.  We have had pleasant and worthwhile encounters over the subsequent half century.  He will be missed by all his colleagues and friends at USC."

 Giuseppe Caire: "I almost did not overlap with Bob as an active colleague, since he retired little after I joined our department.  He was my first office neighbor and was very helpful and friendly to me, with a lot of kind and useful advice on how to get started: really an exquisite person.  This is a real loss indeed."


Todd Brun: "I am so sorry to hear this!  Bob was one of the faculty who helped make me feel welcome in EE and in the communications group when I first arrived.  I never saw him treat anyone with anything but kindness and respect.  This is a real loss."

 Sol Golomb: "Bob Gagliardi was the first of seven communications faculty hired by Zohrab Kaprielian in the 1960's.  (I was the second, and the others, in some order were Scholtz, Reed, Weber, Lindsey, and Welch.)   We became the senior faculty members of CSI.  Bob was totally dedicated to his position at USC, and worked tirelessly with students and faculty colleagues to make sure that everything that needed attention was taken care of.  His passing leaves a big void in our lives."

 George Bekey: "I am greatly saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Bob Gagliardi.  As others have commented, Bob was gentle and kind person."

 Raghu Raghavendra: "I am sorry to learn that Bob Gagliardi passed away.  I got to know him well when I was Dept. Chair.   He was always friendly and very supportive, and was well liked by his students.   We will miss him."

 Alice C. Parker: "This is so very sad.  Bob was just around the corner from me in Powell Hall when I first came to USC and he was always so helpful and kind." 

 John Choma: "I am deeply saddened by this news.  When I was just beginning to learn about communication systems and theory, Bob was a thoroughly inspiring help to me.  My colleagues and I shall miss him."