Oral-History:Joseph Bordogna

From ETHW

About Joseph Bordogna[edit | edit source]

3197 - bordogna.jpg

Joseph Bordogna was born on 22 March 1933 in Scranton, Pennsylvania and died on 25 November 2019. He was IEEE president in 1998 and received the 2008 IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1955, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1958.  Following his naval service, Bordogna attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a Master of Science degree in 1960. He worked as an engineer at the Radio Corporation of America’s Plant in Camden, New Jersey, helping develop early laser communications systems, electro-optic recording materials, transistor-based computing systems and holographic television playback systems from 1958-1964. He also continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering in 1964 and joined the faculty. His career at the University of Pennsylvania spanned forty-eight years and a variety of roles until his full-time retirement on 1 May 1, 2012. He continued to serve as the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering until his death.

Bordogna’s recollections include growing up in Philadelphia and his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania as well as his service in the U.S. Navy. He also talked about being active in the AIEE and the IRE while in graduate school at MIT. He worked on radar, semiconductors, and lasers at RCA and spent time with Applied Research at RCA in Camden, New Jersey. In 1964, Bordogna transitioned into academia and devoted his efforts to teaching, research, and professional activities and service focused on education, the National Science Foundation, and IEEE.

About the Interview[edit | edit source]

JOSEPH BORDOGNA: An Interview Conducted by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, 17 April 2009

Interview #497 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement[edit | edit source]

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA or ieee-history@ieee.org. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Joseph Bordogna, an oral history conducted in 2009 by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, Piscataway, NJ, USA.

Interview[edit | edit source]

INTERVIEWEE: Joseph Bordogna

INTERVIEWER: Sheldon Hochheiser

DATE: 17 April 2009

PLACE: Philadelphia, PA

Hochheiser:

It is the afternoon of April 17, 2009. This is Sheldon Hochheiser. I am here with Dr. Joseph Bordogna, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and past President of IEEE, in his office at the university campus. Good afternoon.

Bordogna:

Good afternoon, Sheldon.

Hochheiser:

If I may, I would like to start with some background.

Bordogna:

Yes, please.

Hochheiser:

Where were you born and raised?

Bordogna:

I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. My father moved to work in the Philadelphia Navy Yard when I was a young tot, so I grew up in South Philadelphia. That is where I was when I started to go to college.

Hochheiser:

Did you go to the public schools in Philadelphia?

Bordogna:

I went to public schools in Philadelphia, for which I am very grateful. I knew all my elementary school teachers until they passed away. It was a real wonderful time.

My father died when I was about ten and my mother stayed in Philadelphia instead of going back home to her roots. [She] worked in a factory and I went to school. I did what my teachers told me to do, I did my homework, and [I] tried to be as good as I could. In 1951, I graduated from high school and I had a number of [college] fellowships and scholarships. Philadelphia, for example, in those times, and still does, if you graduate at the top of your class in high school, you get free tuition to the University of Pennsylvania. It was Korean War time. If you were a good student, you were supposed to become an officer, so I took an NROTC examination and went to the University of Pennsylvania as an NROTC student. After I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, I started my career in the Navy.

Hochheiser:

If we could back up a bit, were you interested in science and technology as a youngster?

Bordogna:

When I was very young, I built airplanes [and] boats, and I had an interest. My father was a carpenter, so I learned that trade as I went along. When I was in school, I do not think I excelled necessarily in any particular way. I just did my homework. I could do the math, the science, the English, and all those kinds of things. At one point for a couple of years, I even went to art school on Saturdays, funded by the city of Philadelphia. A major point here is, I had no money at all and I never paid one cent on my way from kindergarten to a Ph.D.

Hochheiser:

Did you enter Penn [the University of Pennsylvania] with a particular curriculum in mind?

Bordogna:

Yes. It was a time back in the early 1950s, when it was important to be an engineer. It was a big thing around the country. My mentors and teachers thought I would be a good engineer. It was not too much of a choice, should I go this way or that way. I had good mentoring and I sort of flowed with what my teachers were mentoring me to do. Because I had built things, they thought, “That is good, you can be an engineer.” I built model trains and I was interested in electrical engineering, but I liked chemistry and biology and all of that. In any case, I decided to be an engineer for all those reasons, and that fit well with the NROTC issue, too.

The NROTC was a very good investment to make. I sailed in the Navy. I was on the ship most of the time. It was a destroyer that went to the South Atlantic in the summer and the North Atlantic and the North Sea in the winter. I had a great experience. At one point on the ship, I was the Chief Engineer, and at another point, about halfway through that, I was the Operations Officer for the ship. The difference there was mostly propulsion equipment and electric generating power as Chief Engineer whereas the Operations Officer did the more electronic kinds of things, communication, and radar. I had a great experience, helping run a ship.

Hochheiser:

Did you study both the power and the electronic branches of electrical engineering at Penn?

Bordogna:

Yes. This was an era in which the transistor had just been invented in 1947.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

From 1951 to 1955, when I went to school at the University of Pennsylvania, it still had a lot of remnants of power engineering because that was the big thing that most graduates went into, and it still had vacuum tubes.

What was exciting, I came to the University of Pennsylvania as a freshman five years after the building of the ENIAC, the first large scale, general purpose, electronic digital computer. Put all those words in there because that is really what it was. It was a nice atmosphere here, but it was vacuum tubes. All the way to the senior year, I learned how to design with vacuum tubes. This is good.

When I went in the Navy and I came back out again, it was transistors. [However], I was able to move because the fundamentals are the fundamentals, and you could move into the new technology. As I got older and older, I realized that technology changes and fundamentals are pretty much the same, [so] moving along, [you can] design the world with different kinds of technologies than it used to be.

Anyhow, I should tell you, and you will probably take snippets of it, again, I found mentoring very, very important. When I was at the National Science Foundation (NSF), which we will get into later…

Hochheiser:

Yes, we will.

Bordogna:

At the National Science Foundation, one of the biggest things I wanted to do was have a mentoring award by the President of the United States. I was in a position that we could talk about that. In our country, and I think in most places around the world, it is your mentors who guide you. When students come to me and they are freshmen and they say, “What should I do for the four years?” [I tell them] the most important thing is getting to know the other students and getting to know faculty because that is the experience you want to have and the faculty generally mentors you.

The mentoring award was established at the National Science Foundation. Every year ten individuals and a few companies that do mentoring, get the award from the President of the United States for great mentoring in math, science, and engineering.

Mentoring was very important to me. When I was in the Navy, Dr. Brainerd, who was the director of the Moore School of Electrical Engineering [at the University of Pennsylvania] and the principal investigator for the ENIAC [mentored me.] You know, Eckert and Mauchly were the guys who really designed and built the thing, but the money from the Army Research office to do it had Dr. Brainerd as the principal investigator. Back in those days, to me he was God. Those guys are something.

When I went into the Navy, Brainerd began to write to me every few months and I would write back. In the beginning, his letters were just, “Hope you do well,” you know, “Keep safe,” and all those nice things, but he had a plan I did not know about until he did it. He knew that my obligated service was up at a certain date.

Hochheiser:

And that was?

Bordogna:

It was three years. A three-year commitment and five years in the reserves.

As usually in my life, when I do something, I get to like it and I work at it. I was doing things in the Navy. I was beginning to learn how to do things and it was exciting. Fortunately, there was no specific war on at the time, so it was just being at sea. It was the Cold War. We would interact with Russian submarines now and then, but, in essence, it was a safe time.

Hochheiser:

You were out at sea for most of those years.

Bordogna:

I was out at sea. During that time, you learn a lot, you grow up a lot, and you learn how important humanity is. You learn how to interact with people, and you learn what responsibility is. As a young officer, you are leading men, nowadays men and women of course, who are fifteen years older than you are. It is a great responsibility.

I was taught something very important that still stays with me. The most important thing to do was take care of your people, but in those days, it was take care of your men. It meant make sure they advance in grade, make sure you help them with their family issues, make sure they are handling their mortgages, [and] make sure you know their kids. Of course, the issue was, if you are going to lead, [remember] there is always trauma happening. They will [follow your] lead because they trust you, so I learned about trust.

In the meantime, Dr. Brainerd was writing to me and about a year before he knew my obligated service was up, the letters changed. The letters began, “You ought to go to graduate school.” I had no interest. I came from very humble beginnings and I was going to work. I worked in the Navy and I was doing okay, so I thought maybe I will stay in. If I did leave the Navy, I was going to work as an engineer. I was going to go work either at GE or RCA because, by the way, in those days, the people who came to interview in the senior year came from these companies. In the last six months of my obligated service, I got letters from GE and RCA, saying, “If you do leave, please come see us.”

I had an inkling toward RCA. When I was very young, my mother had a difficult time making way, so I had foster parents, too. We did not have much money, so I had these two families. It really was wonderful. I also had teachers and they were wonderful. My foster father worked at RCA, so I felt that since he really helped me through life and he was getting paid by RCA, I was obligated, in a sense, to go back and do things there.

The thread is, I was very much imbedded in a lot of people who mentored me and moved me along. Dr. Brainerd asked me in a letter, sort of asked, but sort of pushed, he was wonderful in this, “You should go to graduate school.” He made the point about the students who graduate from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, about three or four went to MIT every year, and they were always in the top part of the class. He was putting the pressure on. I wrote back saying, “Dr. Brainerd, I really do not know much about graduate school and I am not sure I want to do that. If I do leave the Navy, I will probably go work as an engineer at RCA.” This kept going back and forth.

It’s amazing what has happened in the last fifty years, because I think of all of this, no satellites, nothing, the mail ship would go across the Atlantic Ocean, back and forth, and give mail to the ships maybe every week, week and a half. One day, the mailbag came over and we lined up because everybody wanted the mail and cookies. There was this big package from Dr. Brainerd [with] the application material for graduate school at MIT. I filled it out only because I respected him. I really had no intention of going to graduate school. However, I won a nice fellowship to MIT, a really gracious one, and that pulled me out of the Navy. That is why I did that.

Then I was going to get a master’s degree, because “Well, Dr. Brainerd may be right.” I was in the Navy; it was a good way to spruce up. I did the master’s degree in a year and left MIT, returning to work at RCA.

Hochheiser:

Backtracking, by this point, had you joined IEEE or either of its predecessors?

Bordogna:

Yes. Those were the days when companies really motivated membership in a professional society; schools still do. In many cases, when I started out, they paid the dues. Now that has changed for a variety of reasons. So yes, there was a lot of action. It was AIEE and IRE then.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

You had both organizations at that time, so which one do you join? You asked the question about electronics vis-à-vis energy, power, etc. I joined both, a lot of us did, and we were very proud to do that. We got the pins, and yes, I was very active in AIEE, IRE, and school. I was very motivated by the faculty.

Hochheiser:

You joined these while you were still at Penn?

Bordogna:

Yes. In fact, they had a nice activity for freshmen. When I came to Penn every freshman was put on a senior project, several seniors projects, with the seniors; like we still do today. I had the chance to meet Bob Gallager [Robert G. Gallager], who has become a very famous information theory person at MIT, and that was great. I felt big time because we were with the seniors. It gave an influence of, “Hey, you ought to join the IRE, you ought to join the IEEE,” so, yes, I did.

Actually, after MIT, when I started work at RCA, the Senior Engineer I worked with was a guy named Bill Hannon, a really wonderful, wonderful engineer. Interestingly, he had been an enlisted man and I had been an officer. It was a great relationship. He and I became very fast friends and I learned a lot from him. RCA used to have AA Engineers and A Engineers, but you started off as a C Engineer. I grew a lot with Hannon, and he was a great mentor for me in many ways, too. Dr. Brainerd, again, suggested I come do some graduate work at Penn; however, I was tentative because I liked being an engineer. I had a great experience at RCA, starting off with high voltage transmission for AM broadcast. Then I spent some time in Moorestown, New Jersey, where eventually the AEGIS system came from Radar. They were building the BMEWS radar, the ballistic missile early warning system, which was a big deal at the time. I worked there for a while, learned about radar.

Then I worked at Somerville, RCA’s semiconductor plant. They got out of that eventually. I remember my first day at the RCA semiconductor plant. The guy I was going to work for had a bunch of one-year-old transistor radios in his unit. He had about four or five of them, maybe six, and he gave them to me, saying, “I want you to look at all of these things and see how they all work. What are the differences in them?” They were competitor kinds of things and reverse engineering kinds of things. I learned a lot about that.

Then I got this nice job called Applied Research at RCA, in Camden, New Jersey. It was very, very exciting there and I worked with a lot of smart, young kids, young engineers. I worked a lot and I got all of this experience in manufacturing design. The nice part of the experience I had there is that Applied Research took a lot of the new knowledge being created by research at the RCA Laboratories and the David Sarnoff Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey, and we took all these new ideas and tried to find products or applications. You get a good experience about innovation; we will come to that later.

XXX, what is it really? In those days you did not see it much, but that is what was going on. New knowledge was being generated in the RCA labs and elsewhere, and then moved into the marketplace to make products, create wealth, have jobs, and all those kinds of things. In those days, we did not think that way; we had the excitement of putting new knowledge to practice.

One of the jobs I had there was related to the RCA and IBM race to have the first gallium arsenide infrared laser, the little specks of dust thing, which would operate at room temperature. You had to cool liquid nitrogen. You had to put them in a dewar with liquid nitrogen and it would evaporate eventually. I had one job where these were being made at the Sarnoff Center in Princeton. We were playing with them. One of my jobs was to monitor their power output. You had to keep the dewars filled all the time, so I had a technician whose job was to make sure the dewars did not empty or I would be in trouble. He comes in one day to my desk and says, "You are going to get angry at me because one of the dewars is empty. I forgot to fill it." I raced out there with him and low and behold, this laser was still working. This is a true story. I did not have much to do with it except that I was monitoring the power output, and now this one was empty. Immediately, we got in touch with the guys at Sarnoff and asked how they make this one and how they make that one. They all had different numbers on them because theoretically they were not quite sure how to do this. They made another one like it and another one like it, so we had a small set. We had the only gallium arsenide lasers that work at room temperature in the whole world.

At the same time, IBM and RCA were struggling with the issue of applications, NASA was looking for some kind of laser for the Gemini-7 spacecraft (at the time a two-person spacecraft). NASA wanted a laser that would be able to have a voice communication or a laser beam to earth. We were trying to use electronic cooling because you cannot send the dewars up with liquid nitrogen. Over a few months, we had a few of these lasers. We were playing with them now because we could. We built communication things and we used to talk from the Camden, New Jersey roof all the way to Moorestown, a five-mile range. That is where you can see the scintillation of the atmosphere and all the junk in it would bounce the beam; plus, it was infrared and invisible. We had image converters to do it. It was a very exciting time. These things were moving, and things were changing a lot.

We got into holography a lot because now we had laser. Holography was invented, but you need coherent light to do it, so when the lasers came along, we played with that. We actually built the gadget that the astronauts took up and talked into a microphone. On the other side, there were four lasers because we needed enough to go the 900 mile slant range through the receiver which had to be a mirror. I will not go into the details of how that happened, but it was a very, very exciting time to be involved with things that really, hardly anybody knew about.

Bill Hannon, the leader of our five to six young person pack, was doing it. We began to get jobs around the whole RCA complex in Camden. If some amplifier was not working somewhere, something was wrong with the design, so two or three of us would be charged off for a couple of weeks. Why does not that work? Unbeknownst to me and innocently, not even thinking about it, I was getting this great broad education about how you take some knowledge and make something that goes out and gets sold. I was lucky. I was lucky. I had a good experience. RCA, GE, and those big companies trained engineers very, very, very handsomely. Then Bill Hannon got called to work at RCA labs in Princeton and he took some of his staff with him. The job was to try to find some product that would use holograms and lasers because that is the way RCA worked. RCA labs actually used to make things too, a few things to see if it was practical before it went to an operating division to be made into a product. This is the time when Dr. Brainerd called me up again. By this time, I had worked through a Ph.D. at night and worked at RCA during the day.

Hochheiser:

While you were working at RCA, you were simultaneously studying at Penn for your Ph.D.?

Bordogna:

Right. At the time of this switch with Bill Hannon going to RCA labs, Dr. Brainerd said he had two more fellowship, so I should go down and do one year full-time. That was the requirement for a dissertation.

Hochheiser:

You had to be in residence for at least one year?

Bordogna:

One year. You could use all of the things you were doing in industry. There was a great close connection there. I came to Penn for one year and completed the fellowship. Then Bill Hannon moved to RCA in Princeton and I went along with him. In the summer, just before that happened, I did some work there on an antenna to communicate with submarines underwater. It was a big difficult problem because the antenna had to be 100 miles long. They were high voltage. They electrocuted people. If they could not get the message to submarines, they had to surface. RCA had a contract to try to do something that we might hang between a couple of mountains and be shorter. Wind around some wires and see if you get some inductive effect at the top of the antenna, a vertical one, not a horizontal one. I worked for one full summer on that while Bill Hannon was still at RCA in Camden. This was the summer after I completed the year-long fellowship. This work turned into a dissertation because I actually built one out on the lawn and we scaled it up. I did antennas, which I never intended to do in my life, and since I graduated the Ph.D. program, I have not done it again. However, now I learned about antennas. I am trying to get across that I was very eclectic, in a sense innocently, and I had a lot of mentors, sort of poking at me here and there, a lot of good people.

Eventually, I go to RCA and I am sitting at my desk when the phone rings and it is Dr. Brainerd. I had a Ph.D. and I still wanted to work in industry, but he said, "Do you want to be Professor?" My answer was no, but I came around and said okay, I will try, so I took a leave of absence from RCA.

An interesting thing here, I think for the record, is that nowadays, students focus on being professors. When they graduate with a Ph.D., they are post-docs and then they gear up to be professors doing research and education at the universities. During the last fifty years, there is been a change and we've built a formidable research base in the country in science and engineering by doing that. In our day, that was not so much of a push and most of the Ph.D. graduates went off to industry, though some went to universities. This has changed a lot.

Hochheiser:

When is this?

Bordogna:

This is in 1964-1965. Since I never taught, I came with the naiveté that they are going to teach me how to teach. I had sort of a little bit of a rag tag experience. I got a bachelor’s degree at Penn, a master’s degree from MIT, served in the Navy, and worked at RCA. In a sense for me and my own makeup, it worked well. I took this leave from RCA, went to Penn, and said to Dr. Brainerd, "Look, why do not you give me some courses to teach, and I'll walk around the laboratories and see where I fit in because I know you have to do research." By that time, I would been published in some papers with Bill Hannon and others.

Hochheiser:

These had been in IEEE journals?

Bordogna:

Yes. As a matter of fact, I did not look it up, but one of my dreams at the time was publishing a paper in every [IEEE] journal. I got to five or six.

What we were doing was in holography, in lasers, and in communication, and we were doing gadgets. We actually built the first voice communication system on land, too. These were just prototypes, which carried a voice over a laser beam coming from a room temperature gallium arsenide laser. We had room-temperature lasers, so we did little radar things and established some skills in all of this. That is when Bill Hannon was asked to go to RCA labs to do laser and holography research and those kinds of products.

I came to Penn and I did not know that if you are a professor, you were supposed to have only one course a semester. I am being facetious. It was not quite that. Nowadays, if you have heavy research loads, that is what you do, and it is just two courses a year. Well, they gave me six courses, three courses in the fall and three courses in the spring.

Hochheiser:

All undergraduate?

Bordogna:

Undergraduate, they are all undergraduate. They are all different from each other. Since I had been in the Navy and worked in industry, I got up early, came in, and worked.

I will throw in some nice stories that show how stewardship and partnerships develop between industry and academe. It is a good way to go through it in a sense. One of the courses I had was a lab course for juniors. The equipment was still circa World War II. Good stuff, you can learn it all. The equipment included a Wheatstone Bridge that was so tender and sensitive because it was old. Sometimes I stayed up all night getting the equipment ready for the students. By the end of the day in the lab, the students would have disabled it because it was old. It was not malice of any kind. I said to myself, let me stay here and we are going to have a brand new laboratory right up to date with everything. I taught the six courses, not thinking there was anything wrong with that, and at the end, I decided it was a match for the research.

Another nice thing was if you are a professor, I did not know about this either until I was making the decision, you could work in industry one day a week as a consultant. I said gee, I can have both lives. I worked with the same gang one day a week. I was a consultant in form, but in fact, I was working with the guys I knew, and I knew lots of people. I kept doing that for a number of years until I got into deanships and things like that. It ended up with RCA giving fellowships at Penn and a lot of the guys I worked with, remember I said they were smart guys in applied research in Camden, were becoming vice presidents. One became the head of the Aegis Project. Harry Wahl, who had headed that applied research place, ended up in Boston at the RCA plant which did the Apollo communications. I knew all these guys and I said, "Hey, I need a lab." We ended up having RCA build a really top notch RCA laboratory for the undergraduate students at Penn, so I carried out that desire I had.

All this is going on and at Penn, I started to learn what a campus is about. I was naive there, too. I thought here was the pinnacle of logic, of non-politics, of… I am not saying this in a negative way because life is life. This is life and with politics comes the word policies. If we are going to manage ourselves, then it is everywhere, especially in a democracy, especially if it is free. I got into this thing that freedom really is something. For example, if you are twenty-five years old in the United States of America, and you have an education, you have freedom of choice. People ask you to do something and you can say yes or no. However, if you are not educated, you do not enjoy the freedom that our country was based on. I started to feel a lot of that as I grew older and I became really interested in integrating research and education. If you are in a research university and you have undergraduates…

Research was booming because after World War II all these agencies like NSF, NASA, and NIH, were founded because the government decided that it was a good thing to using taxpayer's money for research at the very frontier that nobody was going to take the risk to do.

Then you fill the knowledge plate, entrepreneurs can pick off it and start companies, and on we go. You create, some will win, and some will lose. The ones that win grow, create wealth, and hire people for jobs. The whole business is to get the knowledge plate full. You do not want to leave education behind because in the end, the NSF, in particular, the National Science Foundation was created for the workforce. It was created so that every year a world-class scientific workforce entered the marketplace. The research was doing two things, including creating the knowledge and enabling you to learn through creating knowledge. Now you have all these things in K-12 where you learn through discovery and you learn with hands on, so I became very interested in all that, just naturally as I grew.

By the way, there were four engineering schools here at Penn, but I will not go into the details. I came to Penn in the middle 1960s, and eventually by the end of the 1960s, I worked at both Penn and RCA. It was great just doing engineering stuff, but then I got onto committees at Penn. I got involved with the liberal arts a bit. Then the Sloan Foundation began to do liberal arts in the sense of the new liberal arts, technological literacy, and all those things. I began to get involved with a lot of that and we started to bring these four schools together.

Decisions were made in the 1970s. One school was made of Engineering and Applied Science in 1973 and its first dean came by to see me.

I am getting into detail, but these are nice stories. If we are talking in a human way, I am looking at this as I am a person, you are a person, and we want to show how my career evolved. Then by the way, all along, I need to tell you something very important, so now that I have said that, what happened to the IEEE as it went along and I graduated from school?

Hochheiser:

Great.

Bordogna:

My first job at RCA was with Bill Hannon. When I got around to him after this year of moving around different places, the very first day he said many things to me. He was nice, but he also scared me a little bit. In other words, he was tough, but he was a great leader. He said, "Okay. Now what are you going to do? I am the Chair of the Circuit Group section of the IRE (it was IRE then), in the Philadelphia region. You are now my note keeper and secretary." So, on the first day, I immediately got into the IRE and eventually the IEEE. That taught me a lot.

Here was this guy, Bill Hannon, doing not just service to his profession, but enabling a way that the knowledge he is producing can get into the journals and be disseminated. You begin to create an economic region. This is very important about these professional societies. Here is an economic region. It is not just Philadelphia, its southeastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, and southern New Jersey. You go up towards Trenton. You get more toward New York. You go down through middle Maryland. You get down towards northern Virginia and into Washington, D.C., and even Silicon Valley. These are all economic regions. The state governors worked very hard creating new businesses, jobs, and more and more. They are beginning to understand through the National Governors Association. They have to look at these boundaries and not have them be impenetrable because of the laws of each individual state. It is a very exciting time right now. You see all that happening. I began to see this from the first day on the job with Bill Hannon.

Hochheiser:

Through Bill, the IEEE section, and the Chapter.

Bordogna:

Yes.

By the way, I will throw this one in, too. When students come to me and say they cannot find jobs because things are up and down, I tell them this story. When I was in the Navy and did the MIT thing, my first job at RCA was going to be at the new Heightstown plant. I was going to work with a top engineer. I would be his sidekick helping develop the antenna for the first weather satellite. Exciting. That was about a week before I started. I got all set up, showed up on Monday to work, and this engineer told me, "I am sorry to tell you, but we are laying you off." Then I tell the students, "Look, look at where I have gotten in life and my first day in industry, I was laid off."

Well, I learned what the world was about again. In this instance, a big government contract had been stopped at RCA Camden and there were many engineers with seniority. They had a semi-kind-of professional organization with the engineers, so seniority bumped me. Then about four days later, I got a call and the caller said, “well, it is not the job you wanted, but we'd like to have you at RCA. We have some openings in the broadcast section where they build high voltage transmission [systems].” I said, “sure, I will do that,” and that is when I began bouncing around.

Back up to the present again, IEEE, Bill Hannon, and circuits. Famous people like Giliman at MIT, Mac [Elwyn] Van Valkenburg at Illinois, and all of these guys, about fifty or sixty of them, met periodically and talked about the edge of circuitry and what should be done.

Since I was doing this note taking work, somehow Bill Hannon said, I have the guy for you. They wanted somebody to take notes in their meetings, so I became this sort of punk young engineer sitting with all these real wonderful elderly people, taking notes. I learned everything without the textbook. Again, it was, IEEE, IRE mostly. You know the Institute of Radio Engineers badge? Did you know that IRE was specially put in for current resistance and voltage?

Hochheiser:

I never thought of that.

Bordogna:

All right, I am going to get into branding a bit because it was an issue when I was IEEE President.

Let me tell the stories because this all gets in the archives. It is there but very few people know what the badge is, the pin they put in, the shape.

You start off in the AIEE with a kite shape, but now the bottom is sort of squished up and it's sort of squarish with the curves. It had AIEE in it and it had a Wheatstone bridge because that was like a kite. IRE had I-R-E and a triangle. IRE had this vector current with the right hand rule. When it [AIEE and IRE] came together [to create IEEE] they tried to preserve all of that. They combined the two things. It is a wondrous thing. It is a great pin. It is a great logo.

Hochheiser:

Through the IRE Circuits Group you got to meet a lot of the really prominent senior people.

Bordogna:

People who became my mentors. I knew Admiral Rickover well. I got to meet him after I left the Navy. A naval officer sent me the connection. Rickover taught me a few things. He said “you know the trouble with young people in this country (he meant people between twenty-five and thirty-five)? You know they are out doing things. They are always trying… They get this place. They want to be a CEO. The real way to get to where you might want to get is to work at what you are doing the very best you can and get a reputation.”

Those things are running in my head all the time.

My foster mother told me that you have got to be ready.

I learned all these wonderful things which I put into the mentoring award for the President of the United States. [The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) was established by the White House in 1995.] This is the reason for it. I began to have these wonderful professors and industry people as mentors, and I got embedded in IEEE. Eventually, I became the Chairman of the IEEE Philadelphia Section.

Hochheiser:

When was that?

Bordogna:

Now let's see. Let me back up a little bit. I mentioned the four schools at Penn were put together in 1973 in this school here. I mentioned about the new dean who came to see me in my office early one morning at 7:30 because he knew I had been in the Navy and was always early.

Hochheiser:

He knew you would be there.

Bordogna:

Not because I'd be there, but because he was going to see the president of the university to say yes or no. He was offered the deanship, and he said, "If you join me in the dean's office, I have some things I want you to do, I will say yes. If you do not join me, I will say no." He wanted me to be the undergraduate dean. I mentioned working with the rest of the university and doing all kinds of things that linked engineering with the social sciences and integrating education. He bought into those ideas and he wanted me to pull them off because we had a whole new plate to create a whole new school. I said yes, and that's how I got into the dean thing in 1973. This lasted until 1980 when he left to be the provost of Lehigh. They did a search and I was asked to be the dean, so I served as dean from 1980 to 1990. It was sort of a coincident becoming the undergraduate dean. I was actually graduate dean for a while. Then I became the dean in 1980.

When I was dean, I guess it was early 1980, I was asked to be the chair of the IEEE Philadelphia Section. At the time, the Philadelphia Section was the biggest IEEE Section. I think it is still pretty big. I am not sure because we were world-wide so much now, but the growth is good. Is not that wonderful? It is historic, it is here, and people like Dr. Brainerd and others, these professors, used to really run the Philadelphia Section. Again, I was following in their footsteps, trying to be as good as them. It was very exciting, and IEEE was robust. We had a lot of things going for the 1984 centennial.

Hochheiser:

Great.

Bordogna:

I was asked to be the lead on the Philadelphia Section’s centennial activities. IEEE [actually, the AIEE] was [incorporated] in 1884 in New York and then the centennial [electrical] exhibition was held in Philadelphia.

Hochheiser:

The first technical meeting was in Philadelphia.

Bordogna:

Franklin Institute.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

We did the centennial convocation in 1984 and I led events in Philadelphia.

We were asked to really run the centennial technical convocation, which was the last day. It would be held at the site of the statue of Benjamin Franklin. It would be black tie and wonderful.

Then Ed David [Edward David, Jr.] who I had met at the Sloan Foundation knew liberal arts, by the way. He was interested with a bunch of other people when he was heading communications at Bell Labs. Eventually, he became the president of Mobil Research, I think it was before it was Exxon-Mobile. I got to know him through IEEE. He eventually became science advisor to the President of the United States. Through the IEEE I got to know him well and discovered his interest in the liberal arts.

People say engineering is a liberal art. We need it all integrated to get a good education for the future and everybody, one way or another, some focus on this, some focus on that. We all have to be literate in some way. David taught me a lot about that. He got some money and one summer he got me to go out to the University of Colorado. We actually wrote the first high school textbook on systems engineering. Then we had all kinds of things, including Bell Labs building circuit sets for the high school kids. All this is now getting robust. NSF picks up and funds this stuff now. All nascent things happening without my realizing its bigness. I was just going and doing the jobs. These are wonderful. Ed David and these folks were giants.

Hochheiser:

Before this had you gotten involved in national IEEE activities?

Bordogna:

Before 1984, I was involved at the Circuits level. I do not think IEEE had Societies. It was a Group. I think that was the word.

Hochheiser:

Gradually, over the 1970s, the Groups all became Societies.

Bordogna:

I worked in the Circuit Society because people asked me to and I worked on the education part. Through that, I eventually became the head of the Education Society. The Circuits activities waned, somewhat naturally, because I got into lasers and holography. However, I had all those connections and I met all those people.

Remember I said I was trying to publish in every one of IEEE’s journals. I remember all these names now. They have changed so much. There was one journal with the laser and holography stuff, another in communications, and another in aerospace because we did this thing with NASA.

Now there are thirty-eight societies, very formal. I am going to talk about this a bit. It is an important issue. It grew naturally. It was IEEE then, in 1963, and it was a great move, including the brilliance of not having “American” in the title.

Hochheiser:

Do you recall how you thought about the merger back at the time in the 1960s? You were at RCA then and had been a member of both societies.

Bordogna:

I guess two things come to mind. I thought it was the right thing to do and I was comfortable because I did not have to belong to two organizations, the AIEE and the IRE. I also had this strong feeling because in the 1950s when I was in school and graduating the electronics industry was in its nascent form and it did things, especially in the laser. When the transistor really became a very important thing you could then realize all the codes that were needed to do all this digital stuff. I mean, digital stuff was known, but you did not have the technology to do it, to get down to little chips, and stuff like that. They offered the graduates at the baccalaureate level all these big salaries. In some cases, they offered two or more times the salary offered by the energy industry, the power industry.

Although the power industry did a good job for years, now we are in trauma because the grid needs a lot of help. One of the things I am doing now is work with the PJM Interconnection. It used to be Penn, Jersey, Maryland, but now it's about fourteen or fifteen states. It is the largest grid in the country. Several years ago, they set up a division on advanced technology. They hired one of the graduates from Penn who is now in his fifties. He had gone to Bell Labs. They hired Bell Labs to head up this thing and try to find any type of advanced technology that could be useful for the grid. They are moving now and of course, Obama's moving, everybody and this thing are moving. There are new kinds of smart grids and all these things.

Back to the point, a lot of people got drawn into the electronics industry. There were great people in the energy and power industry, but the work force was going elsewhere. Back to answer you question, that was the other thing I saw, getting those two together [AIEE and IRE] would help that eventually. It took a long time, but that is really important for IEEE now; it is really, really important world-wide.

All right, so then we go into the deanship and we have the technical convocation. I was doing IEEE stuff. I got to sort of different levels in IEEE and met new people. I did not have any intent on being President of IEEE or anything like that. It just evolved as I went along.

Hochheiser:

According to the records in your file at IEEE, you were, in the early 1980s, members of both the Educational Activities Board [EAB] and the Technical Activities Board [TAB].

Bordogna:

Yes. I was in the Education Society [IEEE Education Society] and the Circuits Society [IEEE Circuits and Systems Society], I think.

Hochheiser:

Well, through the circuits you became a member of the Technical Activities Board and now you are meeting with people from across all the societies.

Bordogna:

Right. Right. Yeah, TAB and all those, they are very interesting entities.

Hochheiser:

What was TAB like back in those days when you were with it?

Bordogna:

Nothing I am going to say is negative because I believe in the idea of eclecticism and argument. When you get into TAB it is sort of like orchestrated chaos or symphonic eclecticism. Those are two titles I used about a month ago. I was asked to give a beginning to a workshop at the National Club of Engineering on engineering for the twenty-first century and how do we make all this happen now. It is moving and it is changing, but it is very fluid. They wanted me to say something about how we got to where we are right now with all these investments from NSF, these education coalitions, and the start of Olin College, a brand new one. Where are we and what is the good of it? That was the assignment and the formal title would be, “Variations on the Theme: The Morphing of Engineering.” I did not say anything about education, but for engineering, education has to comport with that. It cannot be at odds. Then I used these two phrases, the orchestrated cacophony and the symphonic eclecticism, as the real titles. That is what TAB was to me.

It was very difficult to be the head of TAB in that kind of environment. It was good because you could see everybody's ideas on the table. It goes to leadership. If you are a good leader, you want people who do their homework, who are trained, and who know how to get at the truth. They are going to lay it on the table. Everybody trusts everybody. Then you have to make a judgment as a leader. You want these arguments. You want different ideas. The nice thing about IEEE now really being truly global, is that you have all these different cultures and ways of thinking and you have a better kind of TAB or a better kind of IEEE because of different arguments. The leadership has to be carefully thinking of that issue. Any leader, that is the way you put something good together now. So, IEEE has a great future in my sense. Let us see, what happens in 1998?

Hochheiser:

In wandering back and forth, we skipped a whole bunch of years.

Bordogna:

Go ahead.

Hochheiser:

The last thing I asked you about was becoming a member of TAB in the early 1980s. If you do not mind, I would like to circle back to the 1980s.

Bordogna:

Sure.

Hochheiser:

You were also a member of the Educational Activities Board.

Bordogna:

Yes. I was also on the education medal committee. I do not have a real long list of activities compared to others you know, but it is good, and it is solid.

Hochheiser:

This is what is in the official IEEE database.

Bordogna:

You actually found something I was trying to find on the web, the IEEE Strategic Planning Committee. I wanted to talk about it because to me that was very important. That was 1997 until 2000. In 1998, I was the first IEEE President to use the strategy we developed, in 1997, so I want to talk about that.

Hochheiser:

If I can back up a little bit before we get to that? You said, in the early 1980s, you have several types, if you will, larger positions with IEEE. You are head of the Education Society at one point. You are head of the Circuit Society.

Bordogna:

No, I was not head of the Circuit Society. The only thing I was head of was the Education Society.

Hochheiser:

Through the Circuit Society you were a member of TAB. You were president of the Philadelphia Section.

Bordogna:

Right.

Hochheiser:

You have built up, if you will, some broader exposure to IEEE at a higher level.

Bordogna:

I am learning where all the warts are, and where all the glory is.

Hochheiser:

I hope where the treasure is, too.

Bordogna:

You get warts only if you work hard. It is a real living kind of organism. It still has… That is why I wanted to say [something] about my farewell remarks, too, because I talk about this and I have a lot of passion for it.

I am proud to be in IEEE. It is just super duper stuff. [Thomas] Edison, [Elihu] Thomson who was a professor at Central High School in Philadelphia, and those guys back there started AIEE. If you look at it, they did the same thing we are trying to do today, innovation. You know? Now we got a mantra about it. These are super, super people. Anyhow, where are we? We are in the 1980s.

Hochheiser:

We are in the 1980s and you are the dean.

Bordogna:

I am the dean from 1980 to1990.

Hochheiser:

Up to 1990. In a variety of ways, you are also becoming active at a, I do not want to say a higher level, but a broader level in IEEE.

Bordogna:

A more responsible level, the buck stops there.

Hochheiser:

Do these things fit together?

Bordogna:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

What was it about your work at the university and your volunteer activities with IEEE that fit together?

Bordogna:

I tend to go off on little tangents, but I am trying to get at the reasons why, the best way, the most summarized way, I can say this. I just flowed with all these wonderful mentors leading me.

Martin Meyerson, the president of the University of Pennsylvania in the 1970s, saw at this university the integrative effects of crossing boundaries in disciplines. He saw it deeply. He saw it as an educated person at the highest level. You had to have experience. It is important, but it was not enough that a Ph.D. was reductionist, where you dig deeply and get the truth. I like people having had that experience in a real way because of what they bring them to our table and because they know how to do their homework. I can trust them to help us. They do their homework and what they put on the table is very, very important. Meyerson said that it is also important that you cross boundaries and he really was not the only one. Others were talking about that issue because you get tenure on reductionism, which we do greatly in the country. We are the best. Other countries are mimicking it.

Now I will tell you how I got into the mix of things and how they matched without knowing it. Meyerson also wanted to have a better relationship between the faculty and the students. He liked the idea of Oxford colleges, so he wanted these colleges. He began to create them, college houses. He did something that was a little different from the others. If you come to Penn, you can live in the dormitory, you can live in a high rise, you can do all kinds of things, but now we are going to have college houses. Professors will live with you in the college houses and you will bring the intellectual environment into the living environment. Meyerson was also trying to get more of a campus where the students lived on campus. Penn was short on housing, so he had this whole strategy. He asked the new dean coming in, “do you have somebody who would be interested in being the master of a house? Interesting story, but I will skip fast. I became the master of the second college house in 1972. The first college house had classics as its theme. The second college house included me, my family, six graduate students, none in engineering or science, arts, history, etc., and 138 undergrad students. We decided to have a mix of everything. A mix of disciplines that was going to be a theme, a major theme, of our house. We were going to have a mix of the hierarchy with freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

It was about the second year of co-ed dorms, so we had half male and half female students which was sort of new too at the time. The orchestrated cacophony was one way to look at it. But in a very, very positive way, the world is like that. How do you orchestrate it? How do you make a symphony out of all these things with disparate parts? That is what conductors do. I am really serious about that kind of thing and I learned a lot. We went there, and in fact, the graduate students were getting their stipends paid to work in the house. They helped with education and they helped guide the students. The top graduate student was a historian. He was interested in social systems history, how things evolve in the city. I thought of systems engineering. He actually did his history dissertation with a systems context, too. Cool, right? I have lots of stories. I found out, boy, this is good stuff. I lived in the house for four years with my family and then we left in 1976.

Then I spent the last four years as undergraduate dean. I continued as the graduate dean for a while. All these other things were going on and changing, but then the dean leaves and I become the dean. When I was the dean, there is twelve deans on campus, I immediately knew every other dean on campus. I immediately knew all the professors on campus who came to dinner at the college house. I was not even thinking of that. The more you mix, in seemingly disparate things that you do not seem trained for, funny things happen.

When I became IEEE President IEEE was very eclectic. I still feel this way. Thirty-eight societies and was it five technical councils. Working across boundaries; IEEE has not done it yet. People are struggling to do it. We are supposed to enable careers for the members. Why do you join IEEE? Well, 80 percent of them are people working as engineers, design engineers, etc. We are supposed to help them with their careers. Now part of it is the insurance and all that, but the real part is the intellectual part. Would not it be wonderful if we found a way for IEEE to deliver some kind of combination of thirty-eight societies that this person's working in because all the engineers now are working across boundaries You take the iPhone apart and it's got every kind of science and engineering in creation in it. In fact, in some schools, undergraduates are doing reverse engineering. What is in here? It motivates them when they are freshman and sophomores. It is what real engineering is about.

IEEE, at the time I was president, was growing members from ASME, mechanical engineers, who wanted computing journals. That is the kind of connection to do. I began to see a lot of that.

Hochheiser:

You started seeing this back here in the 1980s?

Bordogna:

Right. Then when I went to NSF, too.

Hochheiser:

Well, that is a story in itself. After many, many years at Penn, what led you to the NSF?

Bordogna:

I will tell you about that. I am trying to word these things, so they fit in with what we are here for, which is IEEE.

How do you get involved in things? Engineering is not just technical stuff. It is leading the world. Without engineers, the world stops. Another kind of thing that engineers have to learn, and they are learning it now, this sort of environmental stuff that down in the crux of it all, when you design something, you manifest your intent for society. Most engineers are really designers of some kind. You better start thinking about what you are manifesting while you are doing it, not twenty years later when you find out you did something innocently wrong. It is a very human kind of thing. It is a very human occupation.

In the middle of my deanship around 1984 or 1985, something like 1986, the university was responding to companies and the way they made investments in universities. Generally, the big companies had a standard of culture. They would look at it sort of as a charity, not a charity like someone needy, but they gave money for good things.

Think about how industry has changed since 1985, how IEEE workers' jobs have changed, and the globalness in all of it. This was part of the beginning of that. They were going to invest in universities that were doing things of mutual interest, a good strategy. All the big companies did that. IBM, invested in I do not know maybe this was twenty universities or eighteen, some number like that. We were one of them here at Penn.

Now I am going to tell you partly how I got to NSF. By the way, I never sought a job except when I was at the bachelor’s degree. If you are connected, it is networking, seriously networking, where you are doing things you have responsibility for.

All right, because I am the engineering dean, I got into this. IBM said we are going to name an executive at IBM who will be the liaison to Penn for our investment in Penn and mutual benefit. That is what was going on. They named Eric Block, who became the head of NSF at one point. Eric Block was responsible for the IBM 360, he was the leader and a really significant and wonderful guy.

[End of Tape 1]

Hochheiser:

You were telling me about Penn and IBM.

Bordogna:

Liaisons. One person in each entity.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

I had experienced it as a dean. I went up to GE headquarters, looking at one point for some resources because deans raise money. On the next floor above me the dean of the Wharton School was doing the same thing, but we did not know we were both there. Those are the kinds of issues that everybody was trying to ameliorize. IBM and Penn should have a good relationship, know what they are doing, and make it strategic, and all that. I got named as the liaison from Penn to IBM and I was so excited.

Eric Block, boy, he is a good guy. Eric Block and I began to meet. We talked about things and went back to our places. I would carry forth what the Wharton School may want, or what the medical school may want, etc. Of course, we would do it at dean’s committee. Then the president opposes and says, “Well, you take these things forward, so that there is no argument.”

By the way, integration started to develop again. If you have to do that, you are not going singularly for some resources in industry. You are presenting Penn to the industry, not just the twelve schools individually. I keep saying that, because that is an important issue, even for countries competing in the world. In my opinion, this is what you have got to do.

Block and I talked about things. We were meeting about every couple of months. I would go there, and he would come to Penn. One day, I think it was about the fourth meeting he is sitting at lunch with me. As we are talking on campus he says, “What do you need, Joe?” I said, “Well, I have given you a list of what Penn says. What do you need?” Slowly became friends because he saw that we were trying to put these four schools together into one, the ENIAC was here, and all these kinds of things. He knew about it and he was interested in what we were trying to do. On this day, I immediately said, “I need a Dean’s Venture Fund” and he asked “what is that.

I said, “Well, we have a strategy, we are trying to move to the future, we are trying to see how a rather small engineering school can compete with mass, in a way that we are trying to link with the rest of the campus.” Here is the integration again, at an early stage. These things have been done over the years, but not by many people. By the way, some of those senior professors in circuits that I used to take notes for would teach me about this, too. The most sage ones, they were really something. I was getting trained as well as educated and influenced. We are sitting there, and he says, “Well, how much and what would you like to do?” I said, “Well, I have some great things we are doing in strategy. I need some money to move them, just like you do in venture capital.” Since he was from industry, I was not thinking that he would understand venture capital the way I was thinking of it. I needed some bucks, but based on a strategy. I wish I asked for more.

That is all I am going to say about IEEE. Somewhere, everybody in IEEE should follow the strategy and argue about it. That is what TAB and all these others are for. At all these meetings, you argue, you work at it, you look for the truth, you look for the facts, and you create a strategy. Then everything you do is with that strategy in mind. You may do different things with it, but that is the strategy.

I was trying to do that at Penn. I had people. We had a Board of Overseers for the school and the chairman of the board of DuPont was the chair. We had the President of RCA, the President of Alcoa, the chairman of Air Products, and the chairman of Sperry (when that existed). The President of the University knew a lot of people. They were with me and the faculty on this. The Board of Overseers meets twice a year. Most universities have them, but they may call them Board of Visitors or something else. Somebody from the trustees chaired of one of the twelve overseer boards, one board for each one of the twelve schools. The President of the University of Pennsylvania, who did the college house thing, was looking at integration again. I had this great bunch of people, and at the beginning I was thinking, “Gee, they are not going to have enough time to spend.” Boy, they were dedicated and interested. So, we had all this going on and we had the strategy.

Of course, I had Eric Block at the table with me and the Board of Overseers. They believed in this stuff and we had the things we want to do. I explained what we wanted to do, and Eric Block said, “Well, how much do you want?” This is where I wished I had asked for more; he would have given me more. I said, “A million dollars.” Now, this was back around 1983-1984 and that was a lot of money. Maybe two and a half million today. I went to the faculty. I was dumbfounded. Block went back and wrote the check. The check came in the next two days. Trust, see, he was trusting me.

I had pressure on me, and I had the responsibility not to fool around with this thing. With the faculty, I had the sense the faculty runs the university. I had the bylaws. I am the hand servant of the faculty, but I went to them and I said, “This is my money. This is one thing we are not going to do in a group. We already have a strategic plan, we have agreed on the investments we want to make, and I want to use this money for that. So, I am going to write a solicitation to the faculty, and it is going to have some requirements. The first requirement is I will accept no solicitation from only one department. Two or more departments have to have integration.” I was not able to do that unless we already had this momentum going. I was trying to grab it. I sort of knew what was going to happen at Penn, but I did not want to do it without some type of competition. So, we had competition. The other requirements were it had to be within the strategies of the school and it had to do something big because I was not going to spend little pieces. I planned on spending big chunks.

In fact, next week the medal recipients will receive them at the Franklin Institute. Ruzena Bajcsy, will receive a medal in the field of Computer and Cognitive Science. Bajcsy wrote a dissertation with comrades across three departments on a thing called the GRASP Lab, robotics. General Robotics, and Active Sensory Perception. That lab is world renowned now, she is getting this award, so that is one example. Now this was back in the early 1980s when perception, sensing, and all that were nascent in a big way. We pumped up the things.

Alright, so Eric Block, soon after becomes the Director of the National Science Foundation, a very good one, a very strong one. He finished a six-year term and did a great job. While he was at the NSF, about 1987, he called me and said, “I want you to come and run the engineering directorate.” I said, “I cannot because I committed to this seven to ten-year thing. I thought of the strategy, and it would be unbecoming if I left without carrying it out.”

That is a problem all over. Somebody comes in with a plan and three years later they go, leaving a mess because they have got to carry it out. You got to be responsible and carry the thing out. Anyhow, Block began to ask me to come down. He said, maybe I could be the chair of the National Advisory Committee through the Engineering Director, so I did that. While I was doing that, he was like Dr. Brainerd, because he had other kinds of plans.

There are searches for these things, so the moment I ended the deanship, I got a call from NSF. Block was gone at this point, so I got an offer from NSF Director, Walter Massey, who said, “We would like you to be the Head of the Engineering Directorate.” I said, “Okay, I will think about it.” I talked to my wife and people at Penn. I ended the deanship, so I was done, and I said to myself, “Well, that is not a bad idea.” I took the post and after four years, I was asked by President Clinton to be the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of NSF. I worked at NSF during the last year and a half or so of the first Bush administration, the entire Clinton administration, and about five years through the second Bush presidency. I had a long time at NSF to really do things.

This is like a private kind of thing, but I will say it here, I ended up being the longest serving Deputy Director of NSF. This had a lot had to do with all of these things I have been emoting. I have not been saying, but these are passionate kinds of things.

Why did Eric Block and Walter Massey want me at NSF? Well, you see at NSF a more integrative kind of investment. I could go on with a lot of examples. When you had time to do it, you could really work at it because you are changing a battleship in a country. The idea that you had to integrate research and education became really important. The National Science Board bought into it. The changing of the criteria, not actually the changing, but the criteria when you write a proposal or the criteria for evaluation, I think all the way back to the beginning. This should be put here because it is important for IEEE.

Near the end of World War II, President Roosevelt knew that we were going to win the war because the productive power of the Axis powers had been finished, but there was still going to be a lot of deaths, especially with the invasion of Japan. All of things were on his mind. He was also kept awake at night near the end of the war because there were 15 million people in uniform. Fifteen million, mostly men, but nurses, too. Think of that number compared to today. Now it is everybody, but it is a much smaller number, partly because of new technologies. Those were the days when America went there and did not stay. The Cold War made us sort of go back again.

After World War II, they were coming home and found no jobs. Most of them were coming back right away, crossing the seas on ships. Women were liberated and had the jobs. Then as I started thinking about it, both cases were bad, in the sense that they did not want to replace the women, because they wanted to keep that culture now that they had it. For both men and women, the jobs that were there in 1940 were not the jobs in 1945-1946.

Of course, the nice thing about the ENIAC, which was invented just at that time when things could blossom because high speed communications and computing were became a big deal, you could not go to the moon without it and all of that.

During World War II, electrical engineer, Vannevar Bush was head of the Office of Scientific Research of Development [OSRD] and he brought all the minds together for war-related research and development. OSRD did the research for RADAR and all these things that won the war. President Roosevelt said to Bush, “Look, could this model of using taxpayers’s money for creating new knowledge and creating graduates that are versed in all of this, be used in peacetime to create new businesses. Today, all the time you hear that new knowledge creates new businesses. Educate the students; they can take the new jobs. The GI bill was a part of the game plan. NSF was not started until 1950 and then you had NASA and all these things. NSF was the real agency to integrate research and education.

When I went down to the NSF in Washington, D.C., they did not even tell me, it was just natural to let me do what I should do. For example, the NSF could provide fellowships for graduate students in science and engineering to go to school and earn a Ph.D. NSF offered very prestigious fellowships. NSF fellows can go anywhere they want, and they are really top notch kids. NSF had about 900 fellowships, but it grew to about 1,500 a year now. In addition, awarding competitive research grants to professors gave them the money to hire research assistants.

NSF funded graduated education a third way with a traineeship. Professors would get money and, in turn, draw students to them. After a number of years of moving around and experimenting with how to do more integration, we decided to change the traineeship to a thing called the Integrative Graduate Education and Traineeship a Research and Education Traineeship. It is an awful acronym, but we put all the important words together once we formed it. It required professors across different disciplines to get together and apply for the grant, a good chunk of cash. The grant applications were peer reviewed and all that. In some ways it was frontier busting because professors brought in students and the students got integrative experience across several disciplines. That is one example. Eric Block believed in all that. That is how I got to NSF because I knew Eric Block. No planning, we clicked, and he liked the fact that the college house was integrative as part of the undergraduate program at Penn.

By the way, I have got to always say that my older mentors who were professors at Penn, created the ENIAC and the first Ph.D. in bioengineering, [the latter] in 1960. We had a hospital a block away and medical students a few blocks away. There are a lot of things like that that go way back.

In 1749, Benjamin Franklin wrote an educational paper for the academy he wanted to build. Eventually, this academy became Penn, the University of Pennsylvania. He believed that you should have a good education. At the time there were several colleges, including the first, William and Mary, as well as Princeton and Harvard. They were teaching the classics and teaching you to be a gentleman. They were teaching the classics, Greek and Latin, which were important and still are. I mean, it is good that you want to be well-versed and articulate. I already said they were not teaching other things. Franklin wrote this paper on the education of youth in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1749, before it was a state and all that. About the same time, he wrote the book on the kite. He was very busy during those years. He said, “Look, we have a new world coming.” He was not talking about a country. He also said, “Technology is changing. These students also have to know geometry, astronomy, and mechanics.” He saw this integrative kind of education. There has been this flow through America through its products and its organizations. Now teams are important, they have always been important, and you need them. Anyhow, I got down to NSF and that is how I got there.

Hochheiser:

I assume you needed to move down to the D.C. area?

Bordogna:

I was going to go as a rotator. You know, you can also go there as a civil servant.

Hochheiser:

Yes, I know

Bordogna:

Yes, that is part of the plan. You have 1200 people in NSF. You have about 400 contractor people because we outsourced a lot of things. There are 600 program officers, half are rotators, purposefully, because they are the ones that come in who know the frontier, professionally. They also ask the questions, such as “Why are you doing it that way?” The other half, are really good people. A lot of them know the system. They are all bright and know what to do. This kind of positive friction really keeps the place [going]. I went down to run the Engineering Directorate for three years. Then they needed me for a fourth year and Penn said okay. During that fourth year, the Deputy Director left, so they needed an acting one. I was going to do it and then leave because I thought it would be very comfortable for them, too. I also agreed to do it because they had about four or five months to fill the post. They were going to have somebody new come in, so they started searching and searching and searching.

Interestingly, at that time, some people were saying, “Why do not you run for President of IEEE.” I saw a lot of IEEE USA because I did hearings at Congress.

Hochheiser:

Right. Did you get involved with them directly or is it that you saw a lot of them?

Bordogna:

No, I got involved.

Hochheiser:

In what way?

Bordogna:

Since I was in engineering, everybody, such as ASME and AIChE, came to the Engineering Directorate, which was great. All these people were flowing through this cacophony and you had to make a symphony out of. That is wonderful. At NSF all these people are rolling through every day with these ideas. It was like a toy shop to me. At least two or three times a week you got a fifteen minute colloquium at the edge of everything. It was really exciting. I was pumped.

What happened there? I knew IEEE USA, I was in IEEE, and I was going to come out. During those last few months, I ran to be the President of IEEE.

Hochheiser:

Did you run by petition or were you nominated?

Bordogna:

I was nominated.

Hochheiser:

Do you have any idea how that came about? When I look at most of the people who went through that route, I see a list of terms on the Board.

Bordogna:

Right, you cannot see mine.

Hochheiser:

I did not see that on yours. It leads to the question, how did you get to the point where the people who are doing the nominations thought you would be a good person to nominate.

Bordogna:

I am not sure how I can answer that completely because a lot was done before they asked me to run.

Hochheiser:

I realize that.

Bordogna:

Looking back, I knew a lot of people and good leadership. I have learned these things as I am getting older. If you listen, and you argue, it is fine, but if you are not listening it is very argumentative. That is what you have to do in the IEEE. I got to know a lot of people, plus I was on this strategic planning committee. We were really getting very serious about strategic planning, so I was becoming very useful. I knew what strategy is about because I was doing it at NSF. I also knew IEEE USA and there was some friction. When I say friction, I am talking about intellectual organization. IEEE USA is a great thing. IEEE is a global thing. You have all these issues, but you can work them. In fact, what we are trying to do is, let us try to have other parts of the world see how IEEE USA does it in its own country. They can sort of comport with IEEE USA and learn from them how to do things.

Hochheiser:

This sort of organization dealing with non-technical side of the profession is something that they want to have in their country.

Bordogna:

Right. Some of that is being done and those are the issues. IEEE can be very strong in this, and you also want to enable other things to happen. Remember, I said one of the things IEEE should do is enable members’ careers. We were talking about all these kinds of things. Eventually, I moved into the position of saying, “Well, how about these strategic aims? How about these?” We had been playing around a lot of it and in my time at NSF, I got to know people across the societies. For example, during my tenure, in 1998, the engineering societies sold the United Engineering building.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

I already knew all the heads of the ASME and the five leader societies because they came to NSF. Again, being there and responding to all these things you develop relationships. Hopefully, they are trusting relationships. I keep saying that because in anything you do it is the strongest thing you could have. Yes, I was there, and they asked if I wanted to do it. The Board of Directors has to pick people. I said, “Well, okay, it looks like I am going to be leaving NSF.” I had this higher position as Deputy Director for a few months, so I saw the leaders even more because the Deputy Director has the programs, the money, the strategy, the whole thing. I knew them a lot through all those experiences.

We knew each other. Now, if you ask me to go back and track exactly what happened, I just do not remember, but it happened.

IEEE actually established a strategy at the end of 1997 and for me this was a big thing.

Hochheiser:

What was that strategy?

Bordogna:

I am very happy it is still the major statement today, which is fostering technological innovation. I will stop a minute. There is more to it.

Hochheiser:

I know.

Bordogna:

What do we do? We are an independent not for profit and we foster. We do not tell, we foster technology, but innovation is the issue and it should be the noun. We had an argument about “technical.” I said, no, it is “technological.” We used to have all those kinds of arguments. We focused on some words, but everybody was into the idea that engineers are the pump of innovation. Today, everybody knows that because it is all over the place. In the government, you get acts in Congress based on innovation. IEEE, we fostered technological innovation worldwide. At the time, we argued about the phrase “for the benefit of humanity,” but now IEEE is hooked on a bit.

Hochheiser:

It is.

Bordogna: , It is. I felt, gee, what else will we do? That is what it is for. I wanted to have it short, but they added it. Still, I am very happy that that strategy is still number one. That is what we are. We are a part of humanity, we are a part of making the world work right, and we are going to foster technological innovation. We are not going to foster technology; we will foster technological innovation.

I want to define that carefully and play with it. I like the following, which has come out of Peter Drucker, who is now dead. I liked his definition; it’s very crisp. I picked up on it some years ago when the head of one of the motor companies, I forget which one, (it was in Newsweek or some magazine like that) was at a podium and said, “We had a great year last year.” He also said, “We had a big jump in profits, a big number, a double digit number. We had an even bigger jump in productivity, something like 20 percent. Now we can reduce our engineering workforce.”

I got hooked on this. I said, “Yes, engineers are responsible for productivity because when you have a commodity the only way to make wealth is faster, better, and cheaper. In the 1980s, it became a mantra on competitiveness.” However, if we are going to enable members’ careers, that is not where we want the IEEE engineers to be. I was reading some of Drucker’s stuff and he hit me with a definition, which is different from everybody else’s. It goes like this, “Innovation is the process of taking new knowledge to do things that are new and different. Productivity is the process of taking new knowledge and doing things you know how to do.” Gussy them up, enhance them because that is important. If you have a commodity and you want to keep working at it, this is what you have to do.

At the same time, a guy in NASA, who was an economics major, said, “Why do not you read this book and this chapter, ‘Creative Destruction’?” Everybody knows about it now, [but at the time] nobody was talking about it. I read this chapter and I said, “Gee, it is a little harsh word, but that is what we are doing at NSF.”

I am going to send you my two minute little speech from when I left NSF. The first sentence is, “NSF is in the business of disruption.” This is what capitalism is and it is what our process of creating wealth is all about. You put these two things together. Peter Drucker said knowledge is the beginning of innovation, and knowledge is inherently human, without people there is no knowledge. I liked it because IEEE is the people. Sure, it is technology, but it is the people. Here we have innovation. Drucker defined it so crisply and wonderfully saying knowledge starts the innovation process and people generate it. When you are saying that, you have to educate the people. Right? Then you take this knowledge, and if things are new and different, you proceed to new businesses. It is risky and you might win or you might lose. If you win, great wealth is created and there are jobs. But, you have to be educated for the jobs.

It goes back to Franklin and all these people. It is a wonderful kind of definition. Yes, we must be productive. It is very difficult for the advanced countries to do that because you have costs and all those kinds of things. Eventually, China, and India for sure, are going to come up middle class and they are going to do innovation. They are all into this now. China is going to do innovation. The National Science Foundation of China, NSF, helped it begin. All of this is happening now. I begin to pump this whole thing about innovation. The “innovation” in “fostering technological innovation worldwide for the benefit of humanity,” has that behind it. This is what “innovation” means at IEEE, our engineers.

If people pay a due to join the gang of 200 or what is it now, 370-some thousand. IEEE is big, it is growing faster around the world, and the student body around the world is growing faster. This is all good to me because it is a way to get the world to move itself and for all of these people to get to know each other, and that helps. The strange lesson in all that [is] diversity is king, because the eclecticism to create new knowledge and all of that, and attack very complex issues. The second big thing in that strategy was “enable members careers” which is there. They are just taking that first one and banging on that, which is good.

Hochheiser:

If you are going to have a slogan, it cannot be too long.

Bordogna:

Right. For that reason, “fostering technological innovation” is all I wanted. Boom.

Hochheiser:

Right. It got expanded to include “for the benefit of humanity.”

Bordogna:

Yeah, and it’s worldwide. It is and that is probably why I got [nominated]. I spent a lot of time with these guys, and I was president-elect in 1997? So that was 1991-1996, was the four years, so it was 1996. I had these few months, and I felt I was going to leave, so I ran for the presidency. By the way, the first time I ran I lost.

Hochheiser:

You ran, was that the year earlier?

Bordogna:

I ran for 1997 and I lost.

Hochheiser:

In 1997 against Alexander?

Bordogna:

Right. Then I thought, should I run again or not run again? In 1997, I was at NSF a little more than the four years and they wanted me to be the acting Deputy Director because they had not found anyone yet.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

I said, “Okay, I will run again because I am going to be acting [Deputy Director].” I was acting for a number of years, a year and a half, and I felt, “I have got to leave.” I was sort of being acting a long time and I did not have any problem being acting. When I was appointed the regular way, it was not much different because I knew every day in essence, we were all working together. Everybody knew that we would all be a team and do it all. I was comfortable, but I had to go. You have got to get somebody there.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

In the middle of that, toward the end of 1997, after I got elected as the 1998 IEEE President, the President of the United States said, “We want you to be appointed and confirmed by the Senate.” I said, “I cannot do that. I cannot do it.” Everybody thought I was sort of crazy. Here is a presidential appointment at a high level, and I told the President no. I said, “Look, I went worldwide, I got elected, I’ve got to be IEEE President.”

Hochheiser:

Right, you have a commitment that is going to take a large amount of time.

Bordogna:

Right, right. Everybody who was around me at IEEE said “just resign, we’ll understand.” I said, “It will be chaos. You’ll have to have another election. Plus I made a commitment.”

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

I went through a couple of months of all of that, and they started the NSF search again. January 1st comes, and I am going to be the President of IEEE.

Hochheiser:

You are still the acting deputy director?

Bordogna:

The lawyers, the White House, and the NSF said, “You are acting. You can still stay. We do not want you to go because we have got to search.”

This is a good story about the nation, I think. Here I was, not a civil servant, but in an acting position and helping run the National Science Foundation. Serious business.

When you are a rotator, you really have the job. Talk about a flexible government. We have all these problems, but okay, then what happens? I am not going to be the IEEE President, I am going to be the IEEE President, I am going to leave NSF, and then NSF said, “Okay, you can stay as long as you are acting.” Time is going on and when NSF finds someone I will leave and still be IEEE President. We are halfway through the year, and they came back at me, stating, “The President still wants you to be deputy director.” I said, “Okay, we’ll take a risk. It takes four or five months for the FBI to figure you out. I suppose we can get it done before the end of the year.” Anyhow, they did not get it done until the end of the year, so I was able to be NSF acting director and IEEE President. However, I could not be the IEEE Past President. I talked with all the IEEE people as well as Ken Laker [Kenneth R. Laker] who was getting elected at that time. He did this all his own. He was a petition guy.

Hochheiser:

I know. He was one of the people we have already interviewed.

Bordogna:

Right. He is a wonderful guy. When I was the dean, I appointed him. I knew him because he was the chairman of the electrical engineering department at Penn when I was the dean.

Then there was this issue of how can you run IEEE and still have a full time job? In the first instance, the president does not run IEEE, he has an executive director. The president is a volunteer of the IEEE. Legally, he is the Chief Executive Officer through the Board, and it is a non-profit, so it is run differently from a profit thing.

Bob Dwyer, the IEEE lawyer, is a great guy and I got to know him well. Because of all these things, I said, “You know, Bob, at the first meeting, we are going to train all the new people on the Board. It is always done every year. You do a lot of nonprofit stuff, you are a member of the bar, and you study these things. Why don’t you really explain what it is all about? If you are going to have your own company, that’s non-profit, what would you do?” We began to do that too, and we began to say, “Well, Robert’s Rules of Order can sort of better arrange the cacophony.” We were going to do it, so we made crib sheets for everybody for when they had to raise their hand to do something. What happened? The strategy was as we have it now and we invoked it. I became the Deputy Director of NSF, appointed by the Senate, and as the [IEEE] Past President, I resigned. I talked to a lot of people and they felt they could do that okay. I could not be past president.

Hochheiser:

Right. You did not serve, as would normally be the case, in the role of IEEE Past President.

Bordogna:

Right, and everybody assured me that that would be okay. I think Chuck [Charles K. Alexander] acted as IEEE Past President a bit because he had been it. I think that is the way that was done.

Hochheiser:

Yes, he would be in the position to do that.

Bordogna:

He came forward nicely and nobody was upset with it. Then we go through that year, and I was not the president anymore, but I had learned a lot.

Hochheiser:

Can we talk a little bit more about your time as president?

Bordogna:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

When you agreed to run for president, both the time you lost, and the next year when you won, did you do much in the way of campaigning, since these were contested elections?

Bordogna:

I campaigned in the usual ways. Philadelphia always has these candidates come here and do that. There was an issue, which is still there, but I think it is moderated and done correctly where during my tenure we focused in on.

Dan Senese was relatively new; I do not know when he became executive director. He and I got along well together. The first thing I made clear was I am the CEO and you are the COO. You run the place. I am not going to run headquarters, not because I do not have time to do it, but that is your job and you better do a good job. You and I are not going to be the Bobbsey twins. You have your job and I have my job, and my job is executive. When I was the IEEE president and doing that, it was a very, very nice relationship.

In my tenure, we had the issue of the web. The president of IEEE has some play money, serious play money, maybe $100,000; I do not know what it is at the moment. You use the play money to do something that you like to do, though it has to be important. You do not have to necessarily go through all the structure to do it. Although the Board should okay it, you are pretty much free to do what you want to do. One of the things I did was to put money into “Let’s get web centric, let’s do it.” That is one thing that I was very interested in, and of course, at NSF, we were doing the same thing for the country.

In fact, the NSF was the first agency to be all electronic because we had been working on it for a long time. Now why did that happen? Well, we are doing the IEEE thing, when you have all this stuff going on and you can move it. In fact, that turned out to be under Bush.

OMB had always measured how the agencies were doing. They had formal ways of doing it. NSF won the first prize in the first year as the electronic government agency and the best managed agency in the Federal Government. Boy, I will tell you, just having that little thing, when the head of OMB gets up and says that NSF’s the best managed agency in the federal government, everybody starts to look at NSF. The Congress is happy, so it means a good budget. There is kind of a connection between them.

At the end of 1997, a lot of things were starting at IEEE and it came from all over. I was president-elect and we were trying to focus on what to do. The web and branding were big things at IEEE. Dan Senese was very interested branding. I learned a lot from working at a big company that had a lot of good branding background. That is where a lot of arguments came, passionate arguments. They had a lot of good surveying of members and non-members, asking questions like, “Do you know what that arrow is with the circular on your pen?” Some great number, like 30 to 40 percent, did not know it because they were not electrical. The thing looked nice, but it was not meaningful. Why do you need it? Maybe you just need the letters IEEE. We argued about that and voted in the end to keep the thing. I was glad they were voted for that, but there was another good argument--why do you need that? One reason, “IEEE” became the IEEE brand.

Hochheiser:

Right, as opposed to the words spelled out.

Bordogna:

Right. They did surveys asking people, engineers, members of IEEE and non-members, and just the public. Generally, the answers came in more or less the same. The engineers knew what the little arrow is. A lot of people were shocked, but it did not surprise me. You could see what was happening. Why do they have to do know that if they are doing coding? You are doing all kinds of [things with] thirty-eight societies, and that is good because electrical stuff touches everything. Then the other famous question focused on the public.

When you asked the public “Have you ever heard of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers?” The response was “no.” “Have you ever seen IEEE?” “Oh, yeah, that is on my connector,” or “that is in the book of IEEE for standards. I do not look at it very much, but I can see it, I know it.” That was the brand.

We argued a lot about that thing, it was very passionate; it was good to get it all on the table, and move forward. The membership was not just the people using the arrow with the circle around it. They were members and we were moving the whole thing together. It was just like IBM. We do not know that IBM means International Business Machines anymore. Does RCA mean Radio Company, no.

Hochheiser:

RCA does not exist.

Bordogna:

No, it does exist. It is owned by a Chinese manufacturing company.

Hochheiser:

Oh, yes, a Chinese company bought the consumer products unit from Thompson.

Bordogna:

Right, many times I would use that especially when I was giving a speech and they said, “Tell us about your career.” My career is simply, I worked for RCA, which is now owned by a Chinese company, and Nipper speaks Chinese. That is my career. [Laughs] Anyhow, that was done.

Innovation. We got that done.

Standards. We created that new entity which was prompted by other entities doing standards stuff. The IEEE still does its ancient, over 100-year-old standards stuff, but it now has this other organization, which couples in different ways with others, which is good. So, we did that then. That was voted on when I was there. That was a toughie to do.

I am very standards-oriented in a rational way. For example, I will tell you how important it is to know some of this stuff. The Navy Yard in Philadelphia was closed. The Naval base was closed. The Navy Yard is there, and the idea was, “Well, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation was formed to do something with the Navy Yard.” Most people do not know the size of the Navy Yard between South Street and Vine Street and the two rivers. It is another city. A lot of us wanted to develop it into a high tech center. We did not want a financial center; keep that in Center City. We do not want a lawyer center. This is our time, engineering. Now, it is happening nicely, and they are doing a good job. Now there is going to be an energy center put there, like other places, with everybody in the region involved in it. The guy who is heading it says, “Do you know anything about standards?” He said, “It is clear that when we develop new energy things, they are supposed to have standards, or it will not work.” “Okay, yes, I know about that, and I am going to connect you with the person who is the head of standards at IEEE.” I did that a couple weeks ago, so the two of them are starting to talk. There are a lot of things going on with that. Anyhow, that is where we get to that. From then on, it is NSF and IEEE USA. I had to recuse myself a lot of times with them because I had this connection, but we had a good relationship.

Hochheiser:

If I could ask about a few other issues that have been of concern to IEEE over a number of years.

Bordogna:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

In conjunction with your own activity, your term as president.

Bordogna:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

The question of technical literacy.

Bordogna:

Yes. Ed David and I were involved in that. That is how I got into it. When I was a professor at Penn, I taught a technology literacy course called The Electric Society, in which I taught Wharton students and liberal arts students. Technology literacy like why is 2-1-2 in New York as an area code.

Hochheiser:

I know that.

Bordogna:

Well, most people know about it because of the dial. It clicks when it goes back, so 2-1-2, that is where the most people are.

Hochheiser:

I spent most of my career as the historian for AT&T.

Bordogna:

Oh, yes, yes. You know that.

Hochheiser:

One of the most commonly asked questions that you get.

Bordogna:

When you get involved with Ed David, you learn all of these things.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

I went through that, and now we use digits, push buttons, and have tones. I was trying to give them a sense of what goes on in life and I actually taught them about the barcode. At RCA, we lost the bar code, ours was circular. I was working with this guy, Bill Hannon, who was working on the circular barcode. This type of barcode lost and I think correctly so. I was able to teach these kids, with a little bit of algebra, how you could read the bar codes and things like that.

The early 1980s were a time when there was a problem with engineers not having enough [students] because the enrollments went down. Part of that was just due to the economy. Professors did not have enough students in the classes, so they began to teach these liberal arts courses. There was a great surge on this. A lot of study on it. I got involved in that. Ed David got involved in it, and the Sloan [Foundation] got involved in it. Sloan had a little advisory board on the Sloan new liberal arts program. It produced these books, one of which I used for the Electrical Society, that were written for liberal arts students and were both technologically oriented and societally oriented. We began to experiment with all that kind of stuff all over the country.

The textbook I told you that Ed David headed, and I helped write the whole thing. I learned a lot. We began to use that as a way to teach high school students. It was good for liberal arts students, too. A lot of this started rolling along. As soon as the enrollments went up again, it waned because it was not institutionalized. It is very difficult to institutionalize it. It is up again. It waxes and wanes.

There is a good way to do it, but it is not to say that the new liberal arts is engineering because that is just incorrect. You need to have a holistic education no matter where you go. Engineers need as much non-technology in their careers as liberal arts need to know something about technology and how it motivates what they do, how to vote, how to start companies and all of this. We need an overall holistic kind of education. In this school, we actually have two degrees.

In 1974, we began this work when technology literacy started its nascency. In the 1980s, it got hot because it was a way to teach courses outside the engineering school. It has become important because it is life. We created a liberal arts program inside the engineering school. We wanted to have the School of Arts and Sciences, which owns the BA, do it. They liked what we were doing because we were not stepping on their ground. Here at Penn, it is supposed to be eclectic, it is supposed to cross the boundaries, all of these things, like the college house, I was telling you.

We created a major that was thirty-two courses, just like the B.A., and it is forty courses, in round numbers, for engineering, ABET accredited stuff. It was 80 percent liberal arts and 20 percent engineering school courses, which meant five engineering courses. Students attracted to the program included those who wanted to be science writers. They wanted to know about some material science and engineering, but they did not want to be an engineer.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

By the way, they take the same courses, the beginning courses, to give them [the knowledge]. We integrated all of this together. One person who is now a famous environmental lawyer in Washington, came, this was in the 1970s. He was one of the first students we had. He wanted to be an environmental person and he knew the technology was important. He was particularly interested in nuclear power plants at the time they were in discussion. He wanted to know enough of the technology so he could be a good environmental lawyer. He himself thought of that. He was going to go to Harvard, until he saw this thing with his mother and father, and he said, “Just what I wanted.” Only about five courses were specified. There were categories, but then you needed a good advisor in the freshman year to help this kid formulate this individualized program, which was technological literacy in a liberal arts program.

Hochheiser:

Were you able to apply any of these thoughts on broader technical literacy, from within the perch of the IEEE?

Bordogna:

We argued about this and I am going to end up with that. Remember, I said I used some of the President’s special money for the web, and the other one had to do with what you are talking about. We need a community in the country that embraces this whole thing. That is being talked about with great vigor now.

We need science in the country, you have to be literate, and K-12 needs math and science. What is happening in the best places? They need the math, but they learn it from doing things, which is engineering. You learn physics, math, and all that by doing projects, serious projects, together in teams. That is happening.

We have formed a new high school in the city of Philadelphia run jointly by the school district of Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute. It is called the Science Leadership Academy, so now we are talking about engineers being leaders. The kids, 9th grade to 12th grade, are now into their fourth year of a full school now, they have added four years. They must do projects in the freshman year and all the way through and they present them. I have engineers, professors and others, working with them and helping create the courses. They also have an engineering course, but we are all saying, “You do not really need an engineering course per se, if all the science courses have this engineering tone in them, they learn science better.” You get the idea.

Now experiments are happening across the country. Recently, Arizona State University created a bachelor of arts in engineering degree. In 1974, we had one at Penn. This is good. ASU has gone all integrated with this guy who came from Columbia who is one of the archangels of the stuff we are talking about. When Penn started this degree, nobody copied it and the movement was sluggish, but people are starting to do this now. It is a way, if you have an asset at the university, that is engineering, and you want to track students through your liberal arts areas, but you want to graduate ones who can lead the world, then you bring that asset over and you rationally integrate it into the program.

You do not have to be scared about it or anything; it works. In lots of ways, we have proven that it works. That is the thing that has happened the last thirty years. It works and the graduates do great things. This is starting to roll. Now, IEEE, ASME, and AIChE, in their good hearts are doing good things. They want to do technological literacy, which is good, so they raise the crescendo. This is part of the arguments in the IEEE, but it is still cacophonous to me, so in a sense that you have to join a team.

I will tell you about what I did with the other money, which failed, well, it did not quite fail. I thought it would be great. Since I was NSF, I had some connectivity to the President’s office. The President gave out the mentoring awards and all this kind of stuff. I told IEEE would not it be great if the President of the United States got up at a podium and said, “I have an announcement to make for the engineers of America from the engineers of America. Any school teacher, who would like to be an engineer or have an engineer help in the classroom, or help in some research or some activity, just dial this number.” Now, IEEE has all those engineers. I did not research it, but I bet you there are engineers in every school district in this country. Now you are home and you are going to get your neighbor, your regional neighbor and work on this issue. The President is saying here is the number. Now you can do it with webs and all kinds of stuff.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

As the IEEE President, I wanted to use this other piece of money to develop a training program with a bunch of engineers. Train IEEE engineers and members on how they would react if a teacher called them unexpectedly. It cannot just happen out of the blue and before the President of the United States can make that statement at the podium, we have to organize this thing. How would this happen? We would tell IEEE members, “Look, do not get too excited or do too much work with this, you have children in school and all that, a lot of them would want to do this. But you do not have the time to build a curriculum or the assets or the things, IEEE will do that.” We will do it with ASME, and we will have a web. This is one reason why I wanted to push the website.

What should the chapter in Philadelphia be doing with the president of the chapter or the section as we called them now in IEEE? We have the web and all these assets on the web. Maybe in a two-week program, which you could do online, we were going to bring them in. They could do that here, or you could do it in the web. It would be a short program, and we would give you the assets. You know what they are, so the teacher asks you to do something, you pull the asset out of the web, and you are ready to go. You do not do this all your life, but you can rev this up. We did not get there. We did not get there. However, now that I see technological literacy around the country growing again, to me the issue is not technological literacy. The issue is a holistic education for what Ben Franklin always called future circumstances. That was his focus. You have got to prepare kids for what may happen or what we do not know yet. They have to know this base of knowledge. That is what we have to get. That is running now, we are beginning to get that around.

Now we have a president at Penn that has three goals to bring us to eminence—because eminence can be anything—these three goals are super. One is to increase accessibility, diversity, and inclusivity. Our nation has great competition now with other nations that have middle classes. If we do not have kids that are going to be engineers, scientists, and all these things, we are dead in the water. We have to pay attention. It is not just because we are a community and we have to have equal rights, which is important, it is deeper than that. Our nation, forty years from now, could be in peril, if we have no majority, we are a majority of minorities, and these kids are not educated. It is a perfect formula for disaster. We are global; we cannot fight that, so we have to work on increasing inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity.

Knowledge integration is the second goal and my dream. It is important as a scholarly activity to revere the integration of different disciplines and knowledge across the boundaries. It is a scholarly activity as much as reductionism. We are not there yet, but we are getting there. That is one of the goals. Remember, we are trying to get to eminence. How do you make yourself different and exciting?

The third goal is to engage globally and locally. Now, engaging globally is no brainer because science and engineering are mostly global. However, for the whole university it is not quite that way. As a piece of that, we created a new office of International Science and Engineering at NSF because I learned a lot on globalness from IEEE, and that is the way the world is. We have to get our kids to go abroad, so NSF should have investments in that, move them. This is engaging globally.

Engaging locally is many things. There are two big things, how do you get the knowledge, take innovation, as Drucker stated how do you get the new knowledge, created by human beings, into the marketplace? Universities are not going to do it. They have tech transfer offices, but the private sector knows how to create the wealth. You have to have partnerships. You have to have all of this, but how do you spin this off without softening your job? You have academia. The job is to create knowledge, integrate it now, and transfer it through tech transfer, or more importantly through graduates. Every year they are graduating and go out into society.

The private sector creates wealth. That is what they are there for. They are skilled at that. Now we are arguing with them because they are not quite doing it right or something. What is the government to do? The government is the third piece of what the world is about. The government enables things. The government helps educate people. The government helps square things away when things get screwed up. In fact, the government might screw it up trying to fix it. That is why I like this other piece of the strategy, enabling members’ careers. This is not talked about much in IEEE. Now we are talking about careers, not jobs. We are talking about having an IEEE member who goes through a career, which morphs as necessary. He has these thirty-eight societies, but you have to find a way to couple them more. IEEE is formidable, and it could be a leader by and go beyond doing technological literacy as a piece of something. IEEE has to move in a grander way and be party to what we really have to do.

Hochheiser:

Sometimes I get the impression that people within IEEE use technical literacy to mean two very different things. One is what you have just described, but then there is another whole group who thinks it is encouraging more kids to become engineers.

Bordogna:

It is neither of those. We can encourage kids to become engineers by making it so attractive. In addition, we have these two degrees in the engineering school. I do not know what it is right now, but when I left, it was pretty much the same. Twenty percent of the students are in this liberal arts kind of thing. Before I left, I did a little survey. I never wrote it out. The graduates at that point were in fifty different kinds of occupations

Hochheiser:

Sure.

Bordogna:

A number of those kids, who started that way, decided, “Hey, I am going to do engineering.” Some engineers thought, “Gee, I do not want to do engineering.” You have these students in the same classes. Now it is cacophonous in a sense, but it is intellectual and that is what you want. However, you need professors to buy into it. You need the professional societies to buy into it. There is a grand era coming up here. Why cannot IEEE do this thing? I am sure they can do it. We have to get understanding better and more arguments about this, so that is why I wanted to read this thing.

Hochheiser:

I think we are up to that point.

[End of tape 2]

Hochheiser:

There are two things I would like to ask you. The first is travel while president, since we are dealing here with a global organization.

Bordogna:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

With your other responsibilities, how did you handle the question of travel?

Bordogna:

I shared it, at times. I tried to understand which geographic parts of IEEE had not seen a president for a while, like Seoul, Korea. I went there. Over time, the president should have gone around to the sections of the world that we have, for the IEEE, and listen to what their interests are. The visible image is important, be present, but I do not think it is necessary to do it every year. You will spend a whole year traveling, but do it in a way that you might have over three years. This is a strategic thing that the leadership of IEEE can share, as you go through several years.

The other way I handled it, I had a good colleague who was generous to me, Ken Laker, who was the president elect at the time, that he understood that while I was at the National Science Foundation I had a task that was very complex, and very demanding, and that he would help me at times when something was very important to do, and I could not do it. However, I felt also that being in position at the National Science Foundation, where everything in the world is flowing through every day, that I could bring that information and knowledge to the IEEE leadership and put it on to the table as more information, help us make better decisions. Decision-making is very important in all of this.

The IEEE president is the Chief Executive Officer. The Executive Director is the Chief Operating Officer. They are two different things. The COO reports to the CEO, but the COO operates the staff. A good trusted relationship there is very, very important, and that should be done in trusting partnership with the leadership of IEEE. I also felt that there were others in the hierarchy at the top in IEEE, who could also go to other places and take the IEEE message. They could listen carefully, in a human way and bring that back to put into the information pot. This is how IEEE can really best move ahead. It worked, I think, but people can look back and criticize one way or the other. It is like in the beginning of IEEE, where there were top leaders who were well known, and some others who were unknown, they were the members. The most important people in IEEE are not the leaders, but the members.

Our job is to really enable the leaders to enable members’ careers. You pay a dues fee and what do you get? It should be to enable your career, in its broadest, wonderful, holistic sense. You do it. The one thing I like a lot is maybe we can get those thirty-eight societies, which is happening now, in ways, to cross over and have some way to enable a certain member who could use some cross over, but does not know quite how to do it, because the products are being made with all kinds of disciplines. If we can keep things robust, keep connected, and share in all of this, the bottom line to me is, get the best person you can get in leadership, someone who, by the way, believes in IEEE, believes in its purposes, and loves the place. You need a passionate makeup to you to make this happen. On the other hand, your job is to listen. There are many examples of leadership and how it is done, and different definitions. I like one that might be suitable here, by Lao Tzu one of the famous Chinese leaders and philosophers. His definition of leadership went this way: There go my people. I will follow them. I am their leader. That is how I would put it.

Hochheiser:

Now you wanted to read something that was prepared while you were at the end of your term as IEEE president.

Bordogna:

Yes, I would like the privilege to read it. I will be looking up and down a bit at what I said when I stepped down from the presidency and handed the gavel to Ken Laker. Everybody was very gracious at this time. I thought it was an opportunity to emote, not just speak, but also emote, on how I felt about IEEE.

I said, “The future for the IEEE will be kinetic. As the clock speeds forward to the twenty-first century, change has become robust. It is increasingly difficult to pace out progress, since serious inflection points abound along the way. Nonetheless, embracing change as our trusted companion, shaping it to our purpose, and riding its high wave capably, is the way to meet the new days ahead.

Linking and sharing in many ways, among the various IEEE entities, creates synergy and wholesomeness that can lead to meaning and enterprise. Adjusting processes within a strategic context and building strength around diversity, define the hallmarks of the twenty-first century IEEE. Now in this context, the notion of [a] fast-paced IEEE, comfortably responsive to the instant acting marketplace of fresh ideas, leaves us to realize that in an IEEE that creatively transforms itself continuously.

We can bring the IEEE’s great diversity synergistically to life, if we all pursue our individual and sub-group innovations on behalf of the entire enterprise, and consonant with its strategic purpose. A focus on strategic purpose will yield unprecedented opportunities; many not even yet contemplated, and lift us beyond the immediate horizon to see the whole picture in new and unexpected ways.

Is there a corporate purpose that distinguishes the whole that optimally integrates its parts? Yes. It is the organization’s holistic vision as a worldwide organization, dedicated to furthering the discovery of major technological breakthroughs and their application for the benefit of society. Through its intellectual depth, diverse scope, grand scale, and notable integrity, the IEEE contributes to its members and the world’s capacities to prosper within continuous change. These shared principles are displayed in the daily behavior of its members and groups, both volunteer and staff, each thinking strategically with its every action.

Swift action on the new opportunities of each twenty-first century day, will position the IEEE to differ dramatically from the average and prevent its becoming a commodity organization and thus uninteresting. In the marketplace of ideas and outcomes, the letters IEEE will shout out the institute’s purpose, its excellence, its credibility, its corporate values, and its distinguished parts. Seeing the letters IEEE, which we say, “I-Triple-E” will create an image of an exemplary and inspiring global engineering society, one that is truly networking the world and acting vigorously as a catalyst for global innovation.

I extend to all of you my warm regards and best wishes for a wonderful future, and express my sincerest appreciation for your collegiality this year. It has been a great honor to serve as your president, a highlight of my career. As a memento of comradeship, I leave you with a crystal of excellent technology, clean design, and fine manufacture to remind us daily of our focus on innovation, clarity of purpose, inclusiveness, and global character.

Thank you for letting me say that because I think it still holds. I know that IEEE has the capacity to do all of this stuff. It is really special. It is the biggest one, what does that mean? It has a great history and also a great future, but it has got to morph itself all the time.”

Hochheiser:

If I could ask you a few more questions before we finish.

Bordogna:

Sure. Absolutely.

Hochheiser:

Since you became NSF Deputy Director and a Presidential appointee, you had to resign and not serve as IEEE past president, correct?

Bordogna:

I could not be the past president of IEEE and the presidentially appointed Deputy Director confirmed by the Senate. I would not be able to do the two things at the same time.

Hochheiser:

Right. Did this mean, in a broader sense, you had to be disengaged from IEEE while you were serving in this presidential appointmentship?

Bordogna:

The important point of the official presidential appointment and confirmation by the Senate is the president correctly, wants devotion just to him or her, and will trust you, I am sure I could do both.

When confirmed by the Senate and appointed by the President, I had to keep conflict of interest at the top of my head and not let it interfere. When you are in those positions and you are serving the country and the President, you have to be really clear on all of the other things that you might have to do. In my case, I was the acting deputy director when I was able to be the president of the IEEE. Later on, the timing seemed right that I could accept the offer of the President to be the officially appointed Deputy Director and confirmed by the Senate. It turns out that there is a period of four or five months when the FBI has to investigate you. It was happening, so I could not really move ahead unless all that was done. It had to be done after I finished being the president of the IEEE. I found it no problem to do the two things.

If I had been officially appointed and confirmed by the Senate, it would have been inappropriate to do it. Interestingly, when I was acting deputy director, there were conflicts of interest, and I was the person in the NSF who had to evaluate conflict of interest, so I had to be very strict. I had people on my staff who would review things coming in to me. For example, I was from the University of Pennsylvania, so I did not want to see anything, proposals or anything else, from the University of Pennsylvania coming in to NSF. I had assigned other people in the NSF who would get those before I even saw them, and take care of them without my ever knowing about them. I handled it the same way with the IEEE coming for proposals because I did not want to know anything about the IEEE. This meant that Penn and IEEE could compete fairly and I was totally uninvolved.

Hochheiser:

Right, you had to be outside of the process.

Bordogna:

Right. IEEE USA was one very carefully conducted conflict of interest. IEEE USA, any IEEE leadership, ASME, and AICHE, came to see me all the time. Everybody comes to see people at NSF because they want to know how they really can get invested in. I had to be very careful with IEEE USA, and we were careful. I could not simultaneously go to a hearing at Congress if the IEEE were there, be the president of the IEEE, and be the deputy direct of NSF. Everybody at IEEE knew that. In fact, people in IEEE, the staff, are very savvy people. They know this kind of stuff and it is their purpose to know it. If anybody knew it more than anybody else did, it was the IEEE leadership. They knew when to meet with me and when not to get themselves or me connected with something that was inappropriate. The bottom line here is, in anything you do in life, there is a conflict of interest. I learned a lot about conflicts of interest at the National Science Foundation. The only way to handle it is you have to realize, everybody has a conflict of interest, as pure as you could be, and you work at it. We all have conflicts of interest.

We have to put conflicts of interest on the table and have staff around you make sure you do not tiptoe towards any of them accidentally. Certainly, purposefully, it is terribly inappropriate, and I use the word integrity in the thing I just read to you.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Bordogna:

This is where you really have to be when you are leading such a very, very important international institution called the IEEE.

Hochheiser:

In 2005, you stepped down as Deputy Director.

Bordogna:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

Then you seemed to have been able to come right back here to Penn.

Bordogna:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

Since there was no longer the inappropriateness that existed when you were serving as the IEEE President, did you at that point become more reengaged with IEEE?

Bordogna:

No, but I am doing things at IEEE here and there. I like it that way.

What did I decide to return to the University of Pennsylvania? As I said before, I was the longest serving NSF Deputy Directory. If you had been in a position like I had at the NSF, you learn a lot and you meet many people. Hopefully, you can develop trust and connections, which you use with integrity by the way. I want to emphasize that. Networking is very important, but the real key is to have that networking done so you develop trust and you can attack complicated things together, which is almost anything we have to do today. I had that capability. When they do leave a lot of people can take other jobs, [including] president, provost, dean, or go into think tanks.

I did not know quite what to do, but I let nature take its course. I came back to Penn primarily because when many people in this region knew I was going to leave NSF, they asked me to do some things, all kinds of things. You name it. I am serious about that; this is not hyperbole. If it is pre-K, pre-kindergarten to Ph.D. to post-doc and beyond, people in all those different segments asked me to do things. This happened a couple months before people knew I was going to leave, so I am into that.

We have the Ben Franklin Technology Partners here in Pennsylvania, which helps entrepreneurial potential in the region. We have the Navy Yard, which is being turned into a civilian facility. I hope that it is going to be a big engineering science center in the economic region. I have people at all different universities asking me to do something. I have worked with the eight deans of engineering in the region through the Delaware Valley Industrial Research Corporation, which is trying to help small manufacturers and working with community colleges who are trying to create a workforce in the region. The mayor of Philadelphia happened to have been a student of mine. I am chuckling because yeah, I know him. He and I have talked a bit, and he knows if he needs me for anything, I am there. He appreciates the things I am trying to do.

It is sometimes very useful to look at our society in the simplest form. If you look at society, the three pillars of our society, which have to be integrated and work together, are the government, the private sector, and academe. We are trying to connect these three pieces, which I mentioned before.

Academe has a job, but it also has the skills to help other people join them to work on how to create, integrate, and transfer knowledge. Those are the three things and academe is skilled in all of them. Knowledge transfer has a lot in it including the courses, the teaching, the graduation of the students, and spinning off knowledge to the marketplace.

The private sector creates wealth in a variety of ways. That is what they are skilled in.

Then you have the government, which in its best form enables things to happen. Policies are made and you argue in the Senate. You have the three parts of our Constitution arguing with each other to try to move us all ahead.

What you want to do now is in every economic region of the country. We are stabilizing, or trying to stabilize, the economy that we have. Stabilize what we have. Nobody knows quite how to do it, but we have things in play. We will know when we get to that stabilization, The announcements on all the TV shows will change and we will see it. However, it is wrong to start filling all the potholes that you did not quite fill in, in what we have. The stabilization has to be strong enough so you can leap from it to a whole new economy.

Many people talk about this. In fact, that is what is happening, and it is like said when I read this thing about IEEE.

It is fast-paced now, different from before. It used to take years for new technology, now it is bang, bang, bang. Industry is dying in the flick of an eye and it is created in the flick of an eye.

You have to have these three pieces of society synergized to work together and do their best, so partnerships are critically important.

In fact, the best way to be the most trusted person in a region is to have no responsibility, no budget, and no agenda. When these people ask me to do something, after I do it, I say, “Gee, you do not know this person, you are doing a little different things, but together you might be formidable.”

In our region, we have a thing called the compact for STEM activity. By the way, do you know what STEM is? It is science, technology, engineering, and math and it is being used all over the place. People are using it as a noun and a verb. Science Technology Engineering Math; I hate to tell everybody that it happened in fifteen minutes one day in a meeting I was chairing at NSF. As Deputy Director, I chaired the operating heads and all of that, about ten or fifteen people, every Tuesday morning. We would create the strategies and see how things were moving, every Tuesday morning.

The meeting was breaking up one Tuesday morning and somebody said, “I do not like this acronym SMETE,” which meant Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology Education. Maybe we can take the E off and just use it more generally, as SMET. That is not good, too. I said, “Okay, we are going to fix this up.” We had a few minutes left, we sat down again, and we began to try all different combinations. Then one came up with METS. I said, “Nope, I am from Philadelphia, I am for the Phillies, [so it] cannot be METS.” Again, we talked there about ten minutes and we decided on STEM. It sounded good, and I was sensitive to it because I gave three speeches a week all over the place and you would usually say Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology. You have to use an acronym because you stumble over your words all of the time, so STEM sounded good. Then we thought, “Ah, it is a stem of knowledge.” We tried to rationalize something, but now it has become all over the world, this STEM thing.

We had this compact for this kind of education, but it is bigger than the education; it is the workforce issue. It is one page and we ask people to sign it. If you sign it, you agree to the following, this is the strategy: we are all going to work together to raise the prosperity of the region and to ensure that every person who lives in the region has every opportunity to realize his or her skills, dreams, values,. The second part is, how do we do this? If you agree to this and you join, you agree to do four things, all the time. As I was saying, it is a written thing. When you do something at IEEE, you keep the strategy at the front of your head. You do in that context.

We have the strategy: prosperity and education of everybody in the work force. You do four things: you promote collaboration, you share information, and you advocate only what works. I will stop there a minute. We do not want whims or whimsies, but if things look pretty good, but it has no improvement yet, we will find the money to do research on it. However, we are not going to move it until it works. For example, there are piles of research funded by NSF and some others, the Department of Education, on what works and does not work. Nobody is using it, so dig it out, folks. The fourth thing is, articulate policy that the government might want to consider to make the whole thing roar ahead.

We have about 100 signatories so far, all over the place, including superintendents of schools, presidents of universities, CEOs, community colleges, etc. We are now going at this thing. We won one of the six grants from the National Governors Association. They had a competition for governors to write proposals. They do this kind of thing every year. They chose K-12 education last year. They get some money from the private sector, a little bit of money. There are fifty states, and the governors compete, some of them write proposals. The state of Pennsylvania won one, mostly because of this compact. In sum, as I came off IEEE and I came off NSF, and was now back at Penn], the university was gracious enough to say, “Come back in your chair.” I had a chair before I left. That is what I do, and I am working hard. Okay, what else?

Hochheiser:

I think we have come to the end of what I wanted to ask you. If you have anything further you would like to add, I would be happy to have you do that.

Bordogna:

It is the 125th year and I am glad you suggested I could add something because this is important. It is 125 years.

The 100th anniversary was in Philadelphia here because the first meeting was here. We had a wondrous convocation here, a technical convocation that, for the first time, we were able to get not all but some of the world on satellite. It was a big deal. It was so complicated. It was really tough, but we did it. It was a great success and it brought the globalness of IEEE into the whole thing. Concerning the 125th anniversary, if you go to the website, it is exciting; you have things going on all over the place.

You know, NSF is flattened out in the sense of the [Thomas] Friedman book. Let me wind that around this a bit because of what we are doing now, there are many things for the 125th. I hope everybody will be involved in all of this, do it the way you are doing it in your own part of the world, and get connected. There will be websites and all kinds of videos. It is an exciting time. Here, in Philadelphia, we are going to have [a conference on] the history of professional societies. They have forty papers now.

Hochheiser:

Yes, I am giving one of them.

Bordogna:

Oh, great. Great.

Hochheiser:

Actually, what I am doing is giving the overview paper on the 125 years in twenty minutes.

Bordogna:

That is great.

Hochheiser:

Yes. We are going to have all these more specialized papers and we need one paper to paint the overall IEEE picture.

Bordogna:

Okay, that prompts me to send you the farewell remarks to NSF, after this meeting. I am going to send you a copy of the speech I gave. It is a long speech. They wanted me to speak an hour on Friday during inauguration week.

I mentioned the mentoring awards. Every year the NSF gives the President’s Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching to four math and science teachers in each state and five or six territories. I do not remember how many territories we have in the United States. It is the 25th anniversary of that program. They had a 25th silver anniversary in the Washington area and I was the keynote speaker. I am going to send you that speech. It had a variety of things in it. The subtitle of the speech was going to be, “Yes we can and yes we will,” because Obama was using that a lot. I have the twenty-five years of teachers there, a big group, the best in the country, teaching math and science. K-12 math and science is really important now.

As far as I am concerned, they have to get into it, they have to move it, and that kind of thing, so it is sort of a giddy-up speech here to move it. I had them in my hands and they had me in their hands, too. We had a good time. When the President said, “Yes we can, and yes we will,” in the inauguration that killed that thing, so the sub-speech was, “This and we can do this.”

Everybody said we can do this, but most people do not know what this is. Anyway, I went through what the world is all about and talked a lot about how innovation is so important and how you have to create a holistic kid. You just cannot teach nerds and you cannot teach people who are not nerds. You have to create holistic educators. I will send it to you. In it, I will mention for the tape, because it does not talk, Tom Friedman’s book The Flat is World. It is a good book. About one-third of the way in reading that book there is a paragraph, which—you will see it in the paper, the speech, word for word, but essentially he said—he stopped a moment, because he was barrel rolling through the flat—everybody is accessible, you have got the world flattened out, everybody is connected, you have got the internet, that is essentially what it was about. The internet. Period. What a change it made in the competition.

Here at Penn, we had the ENIAC, which weighed 30 tons. It happens to be the same weight; you might want to note this during the 125th anniversary you are going to speak at, as the statue of Benjamin Franklin. The statue is the national memorial now for Franklin. The federal government takes care of it. It weighs 30 tons and the ENIAC weighed 30 tons. Frequently, in speeches I will say, “From 30 tons, to the world in your hand under your thumb.” That is what you have.

Hochheiser:

Absolutely.

Bordogna:

It is fantastic. It is fifty years. Friedman was talking about that, but one-third of the way through the book he says the following: the world is flat, but we have to be careful that we do not make broader those who have and those who have not. Then he goes on saying we cannot leave the rest of the world behind. Nobody has ever quoted it in anything I have heard on the TV, on the radio, or in Newsweek or Time. I took this up a little bit, and I have also read some things by Nobel Laureate and economist, Joseph Stiglitz, who has also been in government and says the world is not flat, and economist [Richard] Florida, who says the world is spiky. Then you have Washington Post columnist [Robert] Samuelson who claims the world is still round. Now you have these three metaphors. The world is flat; everybody knows that is from Thomas Friedman. When I saw that paragraph in his book and I read the articles, I said, “Well, the world is also spiky.” A spiky world means it is a metaphor.

Here is the globe; Friedman is going to the pre-Columbus flat world (again metaphorically). The idea of increasing wealth to the few and increasing poverty to the masses was shown in a beautiful graphics presentation of the earth realm. The graphics included maybe twenty-five city-places in the world where these spikes are high and as well as the valleys of destitution. Now, we have to work on that. You cannot just say, “The world is flat.” There are other issues because of the internet, humanity, other things, and all of that. These are global things. Right now, we have 200 or so nation states, and no matter what, in the end, each nation is going to do what it needs to do for its own people. Despite being globally interconnected, each nation is going to do what it needs to do for its own people. This is why IEEE has to look at everything. How do we do that? We can do this with innovation. I will share that with you.

Hochheiser:

Very good.

Bordogna:

I guess that is it.