It’s a classic success story, and it never gets old. An innovator nurtures a great idea from humble beginnings into a multinational company with a positive impact across the world.
The company is National Instruments, and the innovator is company co-founder Jim Truchard, BS ’64, MA ’67, PhD ’74, Life Member. Truchard leveraged his innate talents, along with the considerable grounding in physics and electrical engineering he received at UT, to create a system that revolutionized the way engineers and scientists collect and analyze data for technologies that improve lives. Now, Truchard is bringing the company’s core mission—empowering engineers to innovate solutions—to the University. How? By investing in the Engineering Education and Research Center (EERC), where a $10 million gift will help fund the National Instruments Student Project Lab.
“I have been to universities all over the world and it became very apparent to me that UT lacked a central location where engineering students can innovate and collaborate—a place where they can learn by doing,” says Truchard. “We need that place of critical mass and energy where all the disciplines can come together.”
For Truchard, supporting this centerpiece of the EERC is about more than giving back to the University. It’s an investment in National Instruments’ future workforce. Headquartered in Austin, NI has more than 6,000 employees in 40 countries.
“We hire from many different areas—electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, and increasingly biomedical engineering,” he says. “Our professionals need to be flexible, creative, and innovative to stay ahead of the curve. Their education is a critical component to their future success.”
Bringing math and physics to life for students in a way that inspires them to think creatively and allows them to succeed and fail with hands-on projects—that is just one of the many upshots Truchard and others see in building the EERC.
Rita Carlisle Brogdon:
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