William “Bill” Hewlett (1913-2001) helped launch the computing giant Hewlett-Packard in 1939 with his friend and fellow Stanford alum David Packard. Their startup in a Palo Alto garage became one of the founding stories of Silicon Valley.
Hewlett earned his AB in general engineering and his ENG in electrical engineering at Stanford. Packard’s enthusiasm about electronics, nurtured in Professor Fred Terman’s radio engineering class, propelled Hewlett and Packard into the vanguard of the electronics revolution.
Hewlett’s graduate project, the “resistance-capacitance oscillator,” led to the founding of the Hewlett-Packard Company in that celebrated garage. When the Walt Disney Company purchased eight HP oscillators for the movie “Fantasia,” an industry was born. Over the course of that career that saw the rise of “management by walking around,” which came to be called the “HP Way,” Hewlett became one of the most admired figures in American business. His service to Stanford was surpassed only by Leland and Jane Stanford themselves.