National Semiconductor Corp. has honored University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus Brian L. Halla with a named student fellowship fund for the College of Engineering. Halla serves as executive chairman of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company and was chief executive officer for 14 years before retiring from that position in 2009.
National Semiconductor made a $100,000 gift commitment to the University of Nebraska Foundation in support of the Campaign for Nebraska. The gift establishes the Brian L. Halla-National Semiconductor Fellowship Fund and will provide two annual fellowship awards over the next six years to assist graduate students pursuing a master's degree in the department of electrical engineering. The first fellowship will be awarded for the fall semester.
Jerry Hudgins, professor and chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering, said the college is grateful for the support of its students and is pleased National Semiconductor is honoring one of its accomplished graduates.
"This gift will help us retain more Nebraska students for our graduate program and thus provide more talent to the technical infrastructure of the country," Hudgins said. "I am particularly excited about the partnership between our department, Brian Halla, and National Semiconductor to help produce graduate engineers with expertise in circuits and systems design."
Halla is a Springfield, Ill., native who grew up in Fort Dodge, Iowa, before moving to Omaha at age 14 and attending Westside High School. He graduated from UNL in 1969 and has maintained close ties to the school. He has served on the College of Engineering Dean's Advisory Board and was this year's keynote speaker during E-Week, the college's annual event to recognize engineering activities and the profession. In concurrence with the new fellowship, he will provide lectures on campus and help advise graduate students.
Halla became executive chairman of National Semiconductor in 2009. He served as chairman and CEO from 2005 to 2009, during which time he sharpened the company's strategic focus to capitalize on its strength in the area of energy efficiency. He joined the company in 1996 as chairman of the board, president and CEO. Previously, he held positions at LSI Logic Corp. and Intel Corp. He is on the board of directors for Cisco Systems Inc., the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Robert N. Noyce Award Committee, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. He also serves on the engineering advisory board at the University of California, Berkeley.