March 15, 2017
William Strecker came to Carnegie Mellon to study electrical engineering expecting a career in electronic communication systems.
"I wasn't, at the time, very familiar with computers," he explained. "But as I spent time at CMU, I became aware of the fundamental importance of computers and became aware that CMU was playing a leading, pioneering role in developing computer science. It was one of the things that really encouraged me to stay on."
Strecker eventually earned three degrees in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon: his bachelor’s in 1966, master’s in 1967, and doctorate in 1971.
After graduation, Strecker went on to play a significant role in the design of the VAX computer system and a number of other technologies for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) where he spent 28 years in senior technical and executive positions. There he met his wife Nancy, who also spent her career at DEC in sales and marketing.
During his career, Strecker amassed 16 patents in computer architecture and design, and authored numerous technical publications. Among his many honors, Strecker was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery Fellow and a received the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers' W. Wallace McDowell Award. Most recently, Strecker served as EVP and CTO of In-Q-Tel, a non-profit technology firm.
Strecker has always remained committed to the university that helped him become an innovator in the computer industry. He and Nancy both feel strongly about the tremendous contribution of the CMU community — professors, students and alumni — to information technology sciences and engineering.
So, in 2013, they generously endowed Carnegie Mellon with the Dr. William D. and Nancy W. Strecker Early Career Professorship. Through the professorship, they hope to further the university’s excellence by supporting the most exceptional professors early in their careers.
"Both Nancy and I strongly believe in the fundamental and life altering contributions that education makes to our society. Sponsoring a professorship, most particularly at Carnegie Mellon, seemed like an excellent way to support our focus on education," says Strecker. "After all, Carnegie Mellon made a big impact on my life and I wanted to make an impact on Carnegie Mellon."
View images from the Strecker Professorship Ceremony: