Dr. William J. Perry 1996
At the time of his induction into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, Dr. William J. Perry is Secretary of Defense under President Clinton.
Dr. Perry received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Penn State, all in mathematics. Dr. Perry’s engineering contributions have been in the field of defense technology and, in particular, electronic reconnaissance. He emerged as a leading technologist in that field while serving as Director of Sylvania General Telephone’s Electronic Defense Laboratories in the 1950s. Dr. Perry became a Silicon Valley pioneer in 1964 with his co-founding of ESL, Inc., a high-technology research and development company that, among other achievements, developed the world’s first mobile direction finding system in 1971. This led to the Guardrail system, which became the U.S. military’s largest airborne reconnaissance system.
From 1977 until 1981, Dr. Perry was Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering under President Carter and was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including: the American Electronics Association’s 1980 Medal of Achievement; the Department of Defense’s 1980 and 1981 Distinguished Public Service Medal; NASA’s 1981 Distinguished Service Medal; in 1981, the Federal Republic of Germany’s Knight Commander’s Cross; and, in 1982, France’s Grand Officier de l’Ordre National du Merite.
Dr. Perry served as Executive Vice President of Hambrecht and Quist Inc., a high-technology investment banking firm in San Francisco. He was a director of FMC Corporation and a trustee of MITRE Corporation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In 1985 he founded Technology Strategies and Alliances. He has served as a member of numerous committees and commissions and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been featured in many publications including the book, “Portraits of Success: Impressions of Silicon Valley Pioneers.”