ECE Hall of Fame

The ECE Hall of Fame was established to recognize distinguished achievement in the field of electrical or computer engineering. Members may have distinguished themselves with significant and impactful inventions, important research or design, influential business and institutional leadership, and a demonstrated commitment to ECE, the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, and the University of Florida. Hall of Fame membership is the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus/a by the department. Awards will be presented annually.

One prominent inductee was unable to attend the ceremony—Chris Malachowsky nonetheless appeared in a heartfelt video presentation at the ceremony.

(L-R) Sachio Semmoto, Yangbin Wang, Walden Rhines, Aurelio Fernandez, Richard M. Eubanks, Pramod Khargonekar, Linda Rae, Michael Hsing

Richard M. Eubanks

Richard M. Eubanks (BSEE ‘95) is president and chief executive officer and director of The Brink’s Company (a global leader in total cash management and secure logistics). Prior to his May 2022 appointment as CEO, Eubanks served as executive vice president and chief operating officer since September 2021.

Aurelio E. Fernandez

Aurelio Fernandez (BSEE ’79) was born in Holguin, Cuba, on Dec. 19, 1954. He immigrated to the United States in 1966. His family settled in Hialeah, FL, where he spent most of his childhood until attending the University of Florida, where he studied electrical engineering. He began his career at Westinghouse Electric (Power Systems) but quickly saw the growing opportunities in computers and semiconductors. He proceeded to Digital Equipment Corp., beginning his career in technical sales. In 1981, Intel recruited him to focus on key accounts in South Florida. At Intel he learned the discipline required for high achievement with a focus on management by objectives, a practice he continued through out his career. In 1984, he was recruited by VLSI Technology, then a startup, as regional manager for the Southeast. At VLSI his responsibilities grew to vice president of Eastern sales & design centers and then on to vice president of strategic accounts. In 1994, seeking the position of vice president of worldwide sales, he moved to Silicon Valley where he spent time at two startups. Then, in 1997, he was recruited by Broadcom as their first vice president of worldwide sales. In 1998, he was part of the executive team who took Broadcom public. He and his team grew sales from $35 million to over $1 billion in three years. At that time, Broadcom was the fastest company to reach a billion in sales in the semiconductor industry. He retired from Broadcom in 2002, and has since been an investor in real estate and venture capital.

Michael Hsing

Michael Hsing (BSEE ’88) is the founder and CEO of Monolithic Power Systems, an S&P 500 company. Hsing was born in Shanghai, China, and grew up during the Cultural Revolution. During that time, schools were essentially shut down; but Hsing possessed vast curiosities about how things work, particularly in math and physics. When he was 21, he came to the U.S. as a foreign exchange student. He gained English proficiency quickly and worked many odd jobs to support himself through college. However, due to an undiagnosed learning disability, Hsing struggled. It was during his later years at UF, with the help of his professors, he was able to identify and conquer his learning disability. This redefined the trajectory of his life, and in 1988, he graduated with his BSEE and was accepted into the graduate program at UF. Hsing started MPS in late 1997 with a vision, reflected in the name of the company, Monolithic Power Systems – to integrate power electronics solutions onto a single chip. To execute his vision, Hsing created groundbreaking technologies using a fully integrated power process in a CMOS foundry. In 1998, a single-chip solution was created for powering CCFL backlighting in notebooks. By 2016, under Hsing’s leadership, MPS integrated power transistors, high-precision analog circuitries in embedded microcontrollers, and memory components onto a single silicon chip. Finally fulfilling Hsing’s vision, MPS introduced an industry first – a cost-effective, user-configurable, micro power module – an entire power system in a single package.

Pramod P. Khargonekar

Pramod P. Khargonekar, Ph.D. (MS (mathematics) LS ‘80; Ph.D. EG ‘81), was born in Indore, India, on August 24, 1956. Both his parents were schoolteachers, and they instilled a love of learning from his childhood. He received B. Tech. degree in electrical engineering in 1977 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. He continued his education at the University of Florida, receiving his M.S. degree in mathematics in 1980 and Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1981. Dr. Khargonekar has been on faculty at UF, the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Irvine. From 1997 to 2001, he became chairman of the University of Michigan’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and held the position of Claude E. Shannon Professor of Engineering Science. In 2001, he was recruited back to UF to become the dean of the College of Engineering until 2009. He was also Eckis Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2001 to 2016. He served briefly as deputy director of technology at ARPA-E, U. S. Department of Energy in 2012–13. He was appointed by the National Science Foundation to serve as assistant director for the Directorate of Engineering in March 2013. In June 2016, he assumed his current position as vice chancellor for research and distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Khargonekar is known for his brilliant, high-impact research contributions to theory and applications of systems and control. His early work was on mathematical control theory, specifically focusing on robust control analysis and design. In late 1980s, he made groundbreaking contributions to the state-space solution to the H-infinity control problem. This work is recognized to be the greatest theoretical achievement in the control systems field since the pioneering work of R. E. Kalman, Ph.D., in the 1960s.

Chris Malachowsky

Chris Malachowsky (BSEE ’80) graduated with his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1980 and received his MSCS from Santa Clara University in 1986. He has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from both universities. In 1993, Malachowsky helped established NVIDIA, a California-based multinational technology company that continues to make significant contributions to the data science and information technology industries. At NVIDIA, he serves as a member of the executive staff, an NVIDIA Fellow, and as a senior technology executive. A recognized authority on integrated-circuit design and methodology, he has authored close to 40 patents. Beyond his technical accomplishments, Malachowsky has also received an Emmy for a film he helped produce, Inheritance, that won Best Documentary in 2009. Malachowsky was inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame in 2019, and the University of Florida Academy of Golden Gators in 2022. In 2021, Malachowsky, along with NVIDIA, gifted to the university UF’s world-class AI focused supercomputer HiPerGator AI. He also is the namesake for the Malachowsky Hall for Data Science and Information Technology, a state-of-the- art academic building and hub that connects students, faculty, and researchers from across disciplines in pursuit of advances that capitalize on Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. UF has also granted him an honorary Doctorate in Technology.

Linda Rae

Linda Rae (BSEE ‘87) is the General Manager for the Power Generation / Oil and Gas software businesses for GE Vernova (the energy-focused spinoff of General Electric). In this role, Rae is responsible for driving profitable growth for the business, serving energy, oil and gas, chemical, and metals and mining verticals. Prior to this role, Rae spent nine years at Danaher and Fortive Corporations in several president roles, including commercial president for Tektronix and President of Qualitrol Corporation. She spent the first 15 years of her career at Keithley Instruments, where she served as executive vice president and chief operating officer prior to Keithley’s acquisition by Danaher. Rae is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida, the board of directors for the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, and the visiting committee for the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Rae holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida and an MS in Electrical Engineering and MBA degrees from Case Western Reserve University.

Walden C. (Wally) Rhines

Walden C. (Wally) Rhines, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Cornami, Inc., a fabless semiconductor and software company focused on fully homomorphic encryption. He was previously CEO of Mentor Graphics for 25 years and chairman of the board for 17 years. During his tenure at Mentor, revenue nearly quadrupled and market value of the company increased tenfold. Prior to joining Mentor Graphics, Dr. Rhines was executive vice president, semiconductor group, responsible for TI’s worldwide semiconductor business. Dr. Rhines has served on the boards of Cirrus Logic, QORVO, TriQuint Semi- conductor, Global Logic, PTK Corp., Silvaco, Pallidus, Caspia and as chairman of the Electronic Design Automation Consortium (five two-year terms). He is a lifetime fellow of the IEEE. Dr. Rhines holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the University of Michigan, a master of science and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Stanford University, an MBA from Southern Methodist University and honorary doctor of technology degrees from the University of Florida and Nottingham Trent University. In 2021, the Global Semiconductor Alliance honored Dr. Rhines with its prestigious Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award.

Sachio Semmoto

Sachio Semmoto, Ph.D. (ME ‘68; Ph.D. ‘71), received his BS in electrical engineering from Kyoto University, Japan in 1966 and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Florida in 1971. Dr. Semmoto is a highly successful entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience in senior management positions with several leading Japanese telecommunication companies. His career began when he joined Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (NTT, Japan) in 1966, staying until 1983. After successfully campaigning to establish a deregulated telecommunications industry in Japan, in 1984 he co-founded Japan’s first private telecom startup, DDI, now KDDI. Today he serves as the executive chairman of RENOVA, Inc., a renewable energy power company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Under his leadership, RENOVA has grown from a private startup to become Japan’s leader in renewable energy, publicly listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2017. The company continues to develop innovative large-scale renewable energy plants, including off-shore wind, large-scale biomass, and utility-scale solar PV. With his entrepreneurial and management experience, combined with an extensive network, Dr. Semmoto is deeply engaged with RENOVA’s business activities. In the past, Dr. Semmoto has also served on the boards of several world-class companies, including NetApp, a leading cloud/data management company in Silicon Valley (US), and Reuters Shareholding Company, a first-class communi- cations company (UK).

Yangbin Wang

Yangbin Wang (MSEE ‘93) is a pioneer in developing innovative technologies for digital content protection and transactions that increase revenue for content owners. In 2005, he founded Vobile, a global leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider in content protection and the transaction of digital assets. Under Wang’s leadership, Vobile has achieved tremendous growth over a decade—going from a Silicon Valley startup to a global public company with a successful IPO in 2018. He remains the company’s chairman and CEO. Vobile develops software services based on its VDNA digital fingerprinting and watermarking core technologies, widely deployed by rightsholders such as movie studios, television networks, and streaming platforms for content protection and monetization. In honor of Vobile’s innovation excellence in developing video identification technology to protect content value and copyright, Vobile was awarded an Emmy at the 69th annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards. Vobile was also named a Deloitte technology fast leader in 2021 for its significant business growth and technology innovation. Wang earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida in 1993 and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Zhejiang University in 1991. He serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board and West Coast Advisory Board for the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at UF and is an elected director of the UF Foundation National Board.

John Atanasoff (1903–1995)

John Vincent Atanasoff (BSEE ‘25) was an American polymath whose ground-breaking work in engineering, physics, mathematics, and computer science earned him the esteemed title of “the father of the modern computer.” Born in October 1903, Atanasoff graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Engineering in 1925 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. His exceptional contributions were recognized with an honorary Doctor of Science degree from UF in 1974. Atanasoff’s most renowned invention, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), developed with graduate student Clifford Berry, laid the groundwork for modern digital computers. Capable of solving multiple equations simultaneously, the ABC was a revolutionary achievement in computing history. Despite facing a patent dispute with John Mauchly over the invention of the electronic digital computer, Atanasoff’s legacy endures as a pioneer in technological innovation. His dedication extended beyond computing, as evidenced by his work with the Armed and Naval forces and the founding of the Ordnance Engineering Corporation. Atanasoff’s inventive journey continued until his passing in June 1995, leaving an indelible mark on the digital age that followed.

Don Estridge (1937–1985)

Don Estridge (BSEE ‘59) was a pioneering American computer engineer whose innovative contributions earned him the title of the “Father of the IBM PC.” Born in Jacksonville, Florida in June 1937, Estridge graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Engineering in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. With a career spanning the United States Army, IBM, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Estridge’s expertise propelled him to the forefront of personal computing. In 1980, he took the helm of IBM Entry Level Systems, where he envisioned a cost-effective personal computer to rival competitors like Apple Computer and Commodore International. Under his leadership, the original IBM Personal Computer (PC) was born, revolutionizing the industry. Notably, Estridge’s decision to open the specifications of the IBM PC fostered a flourishing aftermarket industry and propelled personal computer sales. His visionary leadership earned him rapid promotions within IBM, culminating in his appointment as IBM Vice President, Manufacturing, by 1984. Despite declining a lucrative offer from Steve Jobs to join Apple Computer, Estridge’s promising trajectory was tragically cut short in the crash of Delta Air Lines Flight 191 in 1985. Nonetheless, his enduring legacy as a pioneer in personal computing and his pivotal role in shaping the computer industry continue to be celebrated.