One of the most prominent alumni of Montana State University’s College of Engineering passed in 2008. C. Lester Hogan, a brilliant scientist and businessman, was among the early pioneers who ushered in the world’s semiconductor industry. He died on Aug. 12 at his home in Atherton, Calif. He was 88.
Hogan earned a chemical engineering degree from MSU in 1942, and MSU awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1967. He and his wife established the C. Lester and Audrey P. Hogan Scholarship in 1988. The Engineering and Physical Sciences building’s atrium bears the couple’s name in recognition of their support of constructing EPS.
After MSU, Hogan joined the U.S. Navy and worked on acoustic-targeting torpedoes. Fascinated by the work, Hogan earned a doctorate in physics from Lehigh University in 1950.
Hogan’s brilliance and hard work in the Navy was recognized by Bell Laboratories, which had a job waiting for him after Lehigh. He distinguished himself at Bell within three months by inventing the microwave gyrator, which allowed electric devices to be smaller. He joined Harvard University in 1953 as an associate professor of applied physics. In 1957, Harvard honored
him with the Gordon McKay Professorship of Applied Physics.
In 1958, he left Harvard to join Motorola. When he arrived, Motorola’s semiconductor operation had about 300 people. When he left 10 years later as executive vice president, he had built the company into one of the world leaders in semiconductors, with 17,000 employees and sales in excess of $200 million.
After Motorola, Hogan went on to a successful career as president and CEO of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp. He retired in 1985. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Audrey; his daughter, Cheryl Lea Hogan of San Francisco; and two grandsons.
— by Tracy Ellig, MSU News Service