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UPDATED: SMPTE To Bestow Honorary Membership Posthumously On David Sarnoff

Getty Images/Bettman
RCA President David Sarnoff at the dedication ceremony for the RCA Building at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, the debut of television broadcasting. (Image credit: Getty Images/Bettman)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) today announced it will bestow its highest honor, Honorary Membership, posthumously on radio and television pioneer David Sarnoff during its 2021 SMPTE Awards Gala currently scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. 

The society will add Sarnoff to the SMPTE Honor Roll and also will bestow Honorary Membership on Christopher J. Cookson and Peter Jackson. Honorary Membership recognizes individuals who have performed distinguished service in the advancement of engineering in motion pictures, television of the allied arts and sciences, it said.

“This year's honorees have done so much, in so many ways, to help our industry evolve and grow,” said Hans Hoffmann, SMPTE president. 

“Their achievements include remarkable technical advances from image capture to display, creative solutions for increasing representation across the industry, leadership in research and education, innovation in delivering moving images to consumers around the world and critical work in standards development. We're proud to highlight and honor their work at this year's SMPTE virtual Awards Gala.”

SMPTE also will present the 2021 Progress Medal, it’s most prestigious award, to Wendy Aylsworth and Girish Balakrishnan. The medal recognizes outstanding technical contributions to the progress of the engineering phases of the motion-picture, television or motion-imaging industries.

Robert A. Dischert (1929-1991) will be recognized posthumously with the Camera Origination and Imaging Medal, which recognizes significant technical achievement related to inventions or advances in imaging technology, including sensors and capture devices.

Youngkwon Lim will receive the David Sarnoff Medal, sponsored by SRI International. The medal recognizes outstanding contributions to the development of new techniques or equipment that have improved the engineering phases of television technology, including large-venue presentations. 

Other 2021 honorees to be recognized include: 

  • Huw Davies, Excellence in Education Medal, sponsored by William C. Miller and Ellen Sontag-Miller
  • Nick Wells, Digital Processing Medal
  • Linda Tadic, the James A. Lindner Archival Technology Media, sponsored by James A. Lindner
  • Moxion, the Workflow Systems Medal, sponsored by Leon D. Silverman
  • Harald Brendel, the Natalie M and Herbert T. Kalmus Medal, recognizing outstanding contributions to the highest standards of quality and innovation in motion-picture production, postproduction and distribution service
  • Anustup Choudhry, Jaclyn Pytlarz and Scott Daly, the Journal Award presented to authors of the most outstanding paper originally published in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal
  • Ava DuVernay, Anne Jacobsen, Franklin Leonard, Kohji Mitani and Jayshree Ullal, recognized with the Presidential Proclamation
  • Pierre-Anthony Lemieux, the Excellence in Standards Award
  • Hideki Ohtaka, Thomas Heritage and John Mailhot, standards participants
  • Tony Meerakker, François Bourdua, and Daniel Guévi, the Citation for Outstanding Service to the Society
  • Aaron DeMolder, the Student Paper Award
  • SMPTE student member Monica Brighton, the Louis F. Wolf Jr. Memorial Scholarship

A total of 17 SMPTE Fellows will be recognized this year. This honor is conferred on individuals who have, through their proficiency and contributions to the motion-picture, television, or related industries, attained an outstanding rank among engineers or executives in media and entertainment. The new SMPTE Fellows are: Robert Brunelle. Dean C. Bullock, Tim Carroll, Andrew Cotton, Richard Lindsay-Davies, Dagmar Driesnack, Joseph Goldstone, Sally Hattori, George H. Joblove, Wicky Man Hoi Law, Luann Linnebur, Jaclyn Pytlarz, David Reisner, David Ross, Yoshiaki Shishikui, Richard Welsh and William Werner.

Unlike past gala's, this year's SMPTE Awards Gala will not take place during the 2021 SMPTE Annual Technical Conference, Nov. 9-18. It will be a separate, virtual event Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.  SMPTE plans to release more details in the near future, the society said.

More information is available on the SMPTE website.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.