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IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society and Former Students of James D. Meindl Honor the Late Professor and Industry Giant

2024 Heritage Circle Group

Meindl’s former Ph.D. candidates and esteemed IEEE Heritage Circle donors gather at ISSCC to pay tribute to their mentor

During this year’s International Solid State Circuits Conference — a global forum sponsored by the IEEE Solid State Circuits Society (SSCS) for presentation of advances in solid-state circuits and Systems-on-a-Chip held from 18 to 22 February in San Francisco, CA, USA – the program featured a touching and uplifting tribute to Professor James D. Meindl and his far-reaching legacy within the solid-state circuit community.

In a special reception hosted by the conference Chair, several former Ph.D. students whom Professor Meindl had mentored during his time as an instructor at Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA, US), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY, US), and Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA, US) gathered with SSCS leadership to honor the industry giant.  These former students – now active or retired industry professionals themselves – were recognized for their generous contributions to the “James D. Meindl Memorial Educational Fund” of the IEEE Foundation as well as for their status as esteemed members of the IEEE Heritage Circle, a cumulative giving donor recognition program of the IEEE Foundation that acknowledges the philanthropic spirit of those who have given back to IEEE throughout their career and lifetime.

Created within the IEEE Foundation following Professor Meindl’s passage in 2020 at age 87, the James D. Meindl Memorial Educational Fund provides long-term financial support designed to nurture, encourage, and celebrate innovation by high school and undergraduate students as well as young professionals in the field of solid-state circuits. The Fund supports the prestigious “IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society James D. Meindl Innovators Award,” which promotes innovation in the solid-state circuit industry by funding projects that energize future generations and encourage their interest in and advancement of the field.

“Many of the individuals who contributed to the James D. Meindl Memorial Educational Fund live in Silicon Valley, which was near the site of this year’s conference, so SSCS arranged for a special session to have them honored as a group,” shared Michael Deering, IEEE Foundation Senior Development Officer.

“It was a privilege to recognize the five individuals in attendance as new or elevated members within the IEEE Heritage Circle — including Dr. Krishna Saraswat (“Nikola Tesla” Level), Dr. Nicky Lu (“Alexander Graham Bell” Level), Dr. Levy Gerzberg and wife Liora Gerzberg (“Thomas A. Edison” Level), Dr. Richard Swanson (“Nikola Tesla” Level), and Dr. Eliyahou Harari (“Hertha Ayrton” Level) — as well as Dr. T.J. Rodgers and wife Valeta Massey (“James Clerk Maxwell” Level), who were not in attendance,” Deering said.  “Each attendee in turn shared comments on the positive impact Professor Meindl had on their career and life as well as the importance of giving back to the industry.”

Reflections on an Industry Giant

“When Professor Meindl took me on as a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University in 1978, he said that I would go on to make important contributions to the field and do great things in Taiwan’s semiconductor industry,” recalled IEEE Fellow Dr. Nicky Lu, Founder and CEO of Taiwanese semiconductor company Etron Technology, Inc., recipient of IEEE’s prestigious ‘Solid-State Circuits D.O. Pederson Award’ in 1998, and a member of the IEEE Heritage Circle. “Since meeting Professor Meindl when I was 24, my life and career have been profoundly influenced by him and he gave me so much.  He was a special man and visionary who demanded top quality of all of his students, but at the same time he treated his students very well and even made time to attend my wedding despite his busy schedule.”

Dr. Levy Gerzberg, a former Ph.D. student of Dr. Meindl’s at Stanford University who went on to found Zoran Corporation, a pioneer in Systems-on-a-Chip technology, couldn’t agree more.

As a professor who encouraged cross-sharing and exploration, “Jim Meindl could excite and inspire students in a unique way, [and was] one of those very special individuals who made an enduring impression on many people,” shared Dr. Gerzberg, whose generous contributions to the James D. Meindl Memorial Educational Fund are driven by his lifelong desire to make the world a better place.  “We encourage others who share the values of innovation and collaboration to donate to this fund and enjoy the positive ‘return on impact’ their generosity creates,” he said. 

“I think the fact that Professor Meindl’s former students came together to fund this endowment would mean so much to him because it will be used to support and inspire a new generation of circuit designers,” Dr. Lu noted.  “Moreover, IEEE was the right organization to lead this fund because Professor Meindl was affiliated with IEEE for most of his life, served as a Past President of the SSCS, and was founding editor of the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits.”

According to Dr. Lu, “we aim to utilize this Fund to nurture more students, researchers, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the industry, following the exemplary role Professor Meindl played for all of us.”

A Focus on the Future

“It’s incredibly unique to have a renowned professor’s students launch a fund designed to nurture the next generation in his honor, and we were delighted to work with the SSCS to make it happen,” Deering said.  “Since 2021, Professor Meindl’s students, colleagues, and family members have made over 100 donations to the Fund totaling more than $1.3 million, and the Fund will continue in perpetuity thanks to the generosity of its donors.”

Karen Galuchie, Executive Director of the IEEE Foundation, is similarly excited about the many benefits that accrue from initiatives like the James D. Meindl Memorial Educational Fund.

“We’re delighted to honor the legacy of industry pioneers like Professor Meindl, recognize the generosity of our esteemed donors, and help nurture future generations in the engineering field,” Galuchie confirmed.

“We take pride in showing gratitude to those who have chosen to give back through such programs as the IEEE Heritage Circle,” she added, “but it truly doesn’t matter how an IEEE member chooses to contribute.  It’s more about what they want their legacy to be with IEEE — their ‘professional home’ – and how our IEEE Foundation team can help them achieve that goal.”

To donate to the James D. Meindl Memorial Educational Fund, call +1 732-562-3915, visit the IEEE Foundation, or send an email to donate@ieee.org.  For more information on the IEEE Heritage Circle, visit www.ieeefoundation.org/our-supporters/heritage-circle/.

Photo caption: “From Left to Right:  Bill Bowhill, SSCS President, and John Long, SSCS Past-President (representing Dr. T.J. Rodgers and wife Valeta Massey) posed with Dr. Krishna Saraswat, Dr. Nicky Lu, Dr. Levy Gerzberg, Dr. Richard Swanson, and Dr. Eliyahou Harari during a tribute honoring the life and legacy of Professor James Meindl during the 2024 ISSCC.”

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