TIA - Robert William Pullen Foundation Scholarship

Established 2013

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) established this award in 2013, to recognize the career of Robert Pullen (BSEE ‘85) who served as president and CEO of Tellabs, the Illinois-based telecommunications company, and chairman and chairman emeritus of the TIA Board of Directors. Pullen died in 2012.

Pullen studied electrical engineering at ECE ILLINOIS, with an emphasis on physics. In addition to academics, he excelled at baseball and played four years as the starting shortstop for the Fighting Illini baseball team. Pullen joined Tellabs right out of college as an electrical engineer. He became its CEO in 2008 after working in development, sales, marketing, and services. His rare gift of intellect combined with charisma, competitiveness, organized and futuristic thinking, and integrity gave him the ability to move in and out of positions fluidly. He understood both the customers and the technology, and was able to communicate well with peers at any level. He put in place Tellabs‘ global sales organization.

Pullen‘s love and devotion to his company and the people in it mirrored that of his love for his own family. He is survived by his wife, Dawn, and two children, Brittany and Brendan. He also served as the chairman and chairman emeritus of the board for the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and was a former co-chair for SuperComm. In total, Pullen served on the TIA board for more than 12 years.

The TIA represents manufacturers and supplies of global communications networks through standards development, policy and advocacy, business opportunities, market intelligence, and events and networking. TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite, and unified communications. Members‘ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment, and entertainment. The TIA-Robert William Pullen Foundation Scholarship was made possible by the TIA Board of Directors and other supporting members.


TIA‘s intent with this scholarship is to support undergraduate students of good character who have strong academic merit and an interest in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.


The recipient(s) will be recognized during an annual Student Awards Banquet. All student recipients are featured on the second floor of the ECE Building's Student Honors Wall.

Past Recipients of the Award

Year Recipients
2023-2024 Joel Jothiprakasam
2022-2023 Brian Yang
2021-2022 Aishwarya Rajesh
2020-2021 Yunhan Fu
2019-2020 Qingxi Meng
2018-2019 Kaitlin J Vlasaty
2017-2018 Zhaoxin Gu
2016-2017 Mohammad Saad
2015-2016 Wenning Fu
2014-2015 Yu Su
2013-2014 Zhi Xu