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Philanthropist Jack Baskin chosen for Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame

Jack Baskin, whose steadfast support led to the establishment and rapid growth of the Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been selected for induction into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame. The Silicon Valley Engineering Council (SVEC) announced the Hall of Fame winners last night during the group’s annual open house at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

Baskin and four other distinguished engineering leaders will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame in a ceremony hosted by the SVEC on February 24, 2006. The Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame recognizes local engineers for outstanding professional achievement and significant contributions to the Silicon Valley community.

Jack Baskin

The other inductees announced last night are Thomas Kailath, Hitachi America professor emeritus at Stanford University; Jerry Sanders, chairman of the board emeritus at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD); Sass Somekh, president of Novellus Systems; and Lotfi Zadeh, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley. Baskin and Sanders were both nominated for this honor by Steve Kang, dean of UCSC’s Baskin School of Engineering and a former president of the SVEC.

“It is a great pleasure to see these deserving nominees selected for the Hall of Fame,” Kang said. “Jerry Sanders is considered one of the architects of Silicon Valley and one of its best CEOs. Jack Baskin’s commitment to bettering the community is reflected in both his professional activities and his long history of active involvement and support for engineering at UC Santa Cruz.”

Baskin, who earned a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from New York University, built a successful development company that worked on commercial, industrial, and public construction projects throughout California. In 1967, Baskin moved to Palo Alto from southern California and sought to fill what he saw as a serious need for affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now retired, he is a leading philanthropist in the Santa Cruz community.

Baskin has been actively supporting engineering programs at UCSC for over two decades, providing guidance to faculty and university leadership as well as generous financial support. In 1997, his gift of $5 million helped launch the Baskin School of Engineering. His donations to the engineering school now total almost $8 million. Baskin, who has served as a UCSC Foundation trustee since 1978, was recently honored as the first recipient of UCSC’s “Fiat Lux Award.”

“His leadership, support, and guidance in the creation of the Baskin School of Engineering will have a long-term impact through the preparation of students for engineering careers that will enhance the quality of life for many generations to come,” Kang said.

Jerry Sanders, the visionary cofounder of AMD, led the company to become one of the leading semiconductor manufacturers in the world. He also cofounded several prominent industry groups, including the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Santa Clara Manufacturing Group, the Semiconductor Research Corporation, SEMATECH, and the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation.

Sanders earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Kang, who served as professor and department head of electrical and computer engineering at UIUC before coming to UCSC, knew Sanders as one of his department’s most distinguished alumni. Sanders endowed a chair in electrical and computer engineering at UIUC in 2001.

The induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame awards is held as part of the SVEC’s annual Engineer’s Week Banquet in February. Inductees are selected on the basis of professional achievement, service to the profession, and service to the community.

The SVEC, founded in 1989, is an alliance of professional societies in the Silicon Valley representing 30,000 engineers, scientists, and technologists in the region. Its purpose is to assist its member engineering and technical organizations in Silicon Valley to better serve their members and the community.

The Jack Baskin School of Engineering, UCSC’s first professional school, has emerged as a distinctive engineering school with a unique focus on the critical areas of information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

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