Presidential Lecture Series

Steve Wozniak

Recognition Year: 
2014-15

Apple co-founder, designer of the Apple I and Apple II

February 4, 2015
7 p.m.
Wright State Nutter Center

Co-sponsored with Honors Institute

Steve Wozniak, a Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for three decades, helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products—the Apple I and II, which influenced the popular Macintosh.

Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. in 1976 with Wozniak's Apple I personal computer. The following year, Wozniak introduced his Apple II personal computer, featuring a central processing unit, a keyboard, color graphics, and a floppy disk drive. The Apple II was integral in launching the personal computer industry.

Wozniak returned to the University of California–Berkeley in 1981 and finished his degree in electrical engineering and computer science. He was awarded the 1985 National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States for his achievements at Apple Computer, the highest honor bestowed on America’s leading innovators.

In 2000, Wozniak was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment for “single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers.”

After leaving Apple in 1985, Wozniak was involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students. Making significant investments of both his time and resources in education, he “adopted” the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teachers with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment. He founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet, and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Wozniak currently serves as chief scientist for Fusion-io. Norton Publishing released his New York Times bestselling autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon in September 2006. Wozniak’s television appearances include reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and Season 8 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.