David Packard (1912-1996), co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, was a progenitor of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that came to define the Stanford School of Engineering.
Packard earned his bachelor’s and ENG degrees at Stanford. Professor Fred Terman, who later became one of the most important deans in School of Engineering history, noticed Packard’s zeal for electronics and encouraged Packard and his friend William Hewlett to start an electronics company.
The company they started in 1939 became Hewlett-Packard, one of the pioneering names in the history of technology in general and Silicon Valley in particular. Packard served as president of HP from 1947 to 1964 and then CEO until 1969, leaving to serve as Richard Nixon’s deputy secretary of defense. He returned to HP in 1971 and served as chairman until 1993. A prominent philanthropist, he created a foundation that helped launch the Monterey Bay Aquarium.