Each year since 1975, Reed has selected an awardee who demonstrates “the perseverance, fresh approach to problem-solving, and creative imagination that characterized Howard Vollum’s career.”
Vollum graduated from Reed in 1936 with a degree in physics. For his senior project, he built an oscilloscope; he went on to co-found Tektronix, which revolutionized oscilloscope design and became a world leader in test, measurement, and monitoring technology, launching the electronics technology industry in the Pacific Northwest.
Previous University of Washington recipients of the Vollum Award include Stanley Fields, Lee Hood, Victor Klee, and Ed Krebs. Previous computer science recipients of the award include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Linus Torvalds.