LEMELSON-MIT PRIZE PROGRAM HONORS HEWLETT
AND PACKARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Hewlett-Packard founders recognized
for contributions to invention and innovation
WASHINGTON, D.C. — California business executives William
R. Hewlett and David Packard have been named co-recipients of the
first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Lemelson-MIT Prize Program,
administered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The announcement
was made today by MIT professor and internationally renowned economist,
Lester C. Thurow. Founders of The Hewlett-Packard Company (Palo
Alto, CA), the international manufacturer of measurement and computation
products and systems, Hewlett and Packard will be honored at a ceremony
this evening at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC) for
their contributions to invention and innovation, which span more
than five decades.
Underwritten by independent inventor, Jerome H. Lemelson and his
wife, Dorothy, the Lemelson-MIT Prize Program was established in
1994 to recognize the nation's most talented inventors and innovators
and to establish positive role models for American youngsters. The
program's Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals for career-long
accomplishments in invention and innovation.
Thurow, who chairs the Prize Committee, calls Hewlett and Packard,
"extraordinary role models for aspiring American inventors.
Hewlett and Packard have not only demonstrated astounding creativity
and inventiveness in developing new technologies and products over
many years, but also applied that creative spirit to Hewlett-Packard
Company's management process. The corporate culture they encouraged,"
adds Thurow, "set the standard for the kind of flexible, humane
work environment that fosters both effective teamwork and individual
Commenting on his Lifetime Achievement Award, Hewlett remarks,
"Dave (Packard) and I recognized from the start that invention
was the lifeblood of our community. We tried to develop an atmosphere
that encourages creativity and innovation — a place where
people are enthusiastic about their work, where they are unfettered
by bureaucracy, and where their contributions are recognized."
Packard echoes the comments of his college friend and career-long
colleague: "The success of our company has been highly dependent
on new products," says Packard. "We wanted all of our
new products to be important contributions to the progress of technology."
The new contributions of the news generation of inventory, says
Packard, "... will be important in expanding our technology
in the next century. From this will come a better life for all the
people in our country — indeed, for all of the people of the
William R. Hewlett and David Packard met as undergraduate students
at Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), where both earned bachelor
of arts degrees in 1934. After graduation, Packard went to work
at General Electric Company (Schenectady, NY), while Hewlett earned
his master's degree in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (1936), before returning to Stanford for his degree
of Engineer (1939).
In 1938, Packard also returned to Palo Alto, where he undertook
a fellowship at Stanford, arranged by the late Frederick Terman,
then dean of Stanford's School of Engineering. Terman had a vision
of a new technology community in Palo Alto — what is now known
as the Silicon Valley — and he encouraged Hewlett and Packard
to help found that community.
In 1939, with $538 in capital, the two engineers established their
own enterprise in the garage of Packard's Palo Alto home. Their
first product, a resistance-capacity audio oscillator, based on
Hewlett's graduate work, was purchased by Walt Disney Studios for
use in the production of "Fantasia".
top of page
Today, Hewlett-Packard Company is a $25 billion company employing
more than 98,200 people at facilities in 16 nations. The company's
innovations include: the high-speed frequency counter (1951) used
by radio stations to meet FCC requirements for frequency stability
the cesium-beam standard instrument, known as the "flying clock"
(1964), which sets international time standards; the world's first
desktop scientific calculator (1968); the world's first scientific
hand-held calculator (1972); the first desktop mainframe computer
(1982). In 1984, Hewlett-Packard pioneered inkjet printing technology
with the HP Thinkjet printer, followed by the HP LaserJet printer,
the most successful product in the company's history. By 1993, Hewlett-Packard
had sold more than 10 million LaserJets and more than 20 million
"Bill Hewlett's and Dave Packard's uncompromising commitment
to quality provides a singular example for American industry,"
says Charles M. Vest, president of MIT. "By identifying specific
technological needs and challenging themselves and their employees
to develop creative responses to those needs," adds Vest, "Hewlett
and Packard were directly responsible for innovations that changed
everything from the way we measure time to the way we prepare even
the simplest business documents. Perhaps even more important, because
many of their innovations made the use of technology more affordable
and less cumbersome, they contributed to the rapid dissemination
of many technologies that otherwise would have been inaccessible
to many consumers."
William R. Hewlett was born May 20, 1913 in Ann Arbor, MI. With
the exception of his years as an Army officer during World War II,
Hewlett was actively involved in management of Hewlett-Packard Company
throughout his career. He served HP as vice president (1947); president
(1964-1977); chief executive officer (1969-1978); executive committee
chairman (1978-1983); and vice president of the board of directors
from 1983 until 1987, when he was named director emeritus.
David Packard was born September 7, 1912, in Pueblo, CO. When his
partnership with William R. Hewlett was incorporated as Hewlett-Packard
Company in 1947, Packard was named president. He held that post
until 1964, when he was elected chairman of the board and chief
executive officer. In 1969, Packard left the company to serve as
Deputy Secretary of Defense in the first Nixon Administration. In
1971, Packard resumed his position as chairman of the Hewlett-Packard
board. He returned in 1993 and was named chairman emeritus.
Throughout his career, Packard was active in civic, business, and
philanthropic organizations. He returned to public service in 1985,
when he was appointed by then-President Reagan to chair the Blue
Ribbon Commission of Defense Management. In California, Packard
is especially identified with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a $49 million
project of the Packard family. He is also a trustee of the Herbert
Hoover Foundation and has held leadership positions in the California
Nature Conservancy and the Wolf Trap Foundation (Vienna, VA), an
organization devoted to the performing arts.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is part of the Lemelson-MIT Prize
Program, which awards an annual, $500,000 prize to a United States
citizen or permanent resident (or a qualified team of individuals)
who demonstrates excellence in creativity, invention, and/or innovation
in medicine and health care; energy and environment; telecommunications
and computing; consumer products; durable goods and industrial products.
Today, William Bolander was named the first recipient of the Lemelson-MIT
Prize. An engineer with GM Powertrain, Bolander was recognized for
the innovations he contributed to the development of the Saturn
automobile and to General Motors' Northstar Cadillac.
"These first Lemelson-MIT Prize honorees, Bill Hewlett, David
Packard, and Bill Bolander personify the ideals that inspired me
to establish the Prize Program," comments Jerome Lemelson.
"Together they illustrate how the American spirit of invention
can not only stimulate new businesses, but also invigorate mature
industries. Perhaps more important, they demonstrate to young people
that inventing and innovating can be just as exciting as careers
in entertainment and sports — and just as rewarding."
Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, the Lemelson-MIT Program was established in 1994
by the late independent inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife,
Dorothy. The Program celebrates inventor/innovator role models through
outreach activities and annual awards including the world's largest
for invention, the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The Program encourages
young Americans to pursue careers in the fields of science, engineering,
technology and entrepreneurship. The Lemelson-MIT Program is funded
by the Lemelson Foundation, which supports other invention initiatives
at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Hampshire
College, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance
and the University of Nevada, Reno.
Read more about William
Hewlett and David
top of page