Steve Jobs; an innovator we can aspire to

Written by  //  October 6, 2011  //  Alumni, Business and Industry, Faculty, Research, Staff, Students  //  No comments

I was saddened to hear of the death of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computer. Steve had an enormous positive impact on the computer revolution that defines our technological world today. For a short time earlier this year, based on the value of Apple stock, he was CEO of the biggest company in the U.S. (based on market value). Not bad for someone who started his company in a garage.

My first real computer (I do not count my Atari system used to write my first textbook between breaks of playing Pac-man) was a Macintosh. I used the Mac to support my research as it was the easiest way to create the graphics I needed to measure spatial abilities of freshman engineering students at The Ohio State University. Since that time I closely followed the career of Steve Jobs, the Renaissance man. Yes, I was amazed at his ability to innovate products. I also was amazed at his career, moving from Apple Computers to Pixar and back to Apple Computers, pulling it out of its death spiral and transforming Apple into one of the greatest companies in our nation.

I believe true technologists are Renaissance people who are artists, engineers, and scientists. They have this unique blend of intellect, curiosity, creativity, and passion for innovation. Steve Jobs was a great technology integrator, taking existing technology and combining it with very elegant design to transform the computing, music, and cell phone industries. What I have found over the years is that many of the programs in the College of Technology attract renaissance-like students. Recently I have discovered that we have a number of very successful graduates who are entrepreneurs and innovators.

Many of our students are masters at technology integration, given the opportunity, and flourish in our programs. We engage in use-inspired and applied research, which can lead to new product development and improved processes, and have a positive impact on our nation’s economy. As we transform the college from Good to Great and look at new opportunities, I believe an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship should be at our core. Attracting more Renaissance-like students is an aspiration that will lead our College to preeminence. Steve Jobs changed the world through his innovations. We can change the world by focusing our efforts on defining and preparing the 21st century technologist — the modern day version of the Renaissance person.

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