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Faye E. and Michael D. Smith | Image: Courtesy of Michael D. Smith
Faye E. and Michael D. Smith ‘77 have contributed to the Electrical Engineering Excellence Fund. Distributions from this fund are at the discretion of the department head for critical departmental program needs not supported by state funding allocations.
 
After graduating from high school, Michael studied electrical engineering at Kilgore Junior College for two years. He said it was the dean of engineering, Dr. Samuel Canterbury '36, who set him on the path to complete his bachelor’s in electrical engineering at Texas A&M University.
 
Michael details his history at Texas A&M and describes his journey in analog integrated circuit design. “Two of my professors, Dr. Philip Allen and Dr. Randy Geiger, expanded my thinking into considering this emerging field,” he said. “Both had recently joined the faculty, were doing research in that field and had an interest in establishing a graduate program in analog integrated circuit design. Four other electrical engineering students and I took the plunge, and so the seven of us embarked on the fabulous journey of mapping out the courses for the new degree program while doing research together. All five of us became the first M.S. graduates in the new analog circuit design curriculum.”
 
After graduating from the program, Michael went directly into working for Motorola's Telecom division, eventually becoming a design engineer for a startup, Dallas Semiconductor, which went public in 1987. “I had opportunities to move into management, eventually running the communications business unit. Maxim Integrated eventually bought them and I stayed pretty much until retirement,” he said.
 
Michael and Faye hope their contribution will help the department in encouraging students to develop an interest in circuit design and help facilitate their studies. “Although most electrical engineering graduates are focusing on software, somebody still has to design the hardware equipment for the software to run on and design the communications 'plumbing' that enables the internet,” Michael said.
 
Since he was one of the first graduates of this program at Texas A&M, Michael wanted to give back to keep the analog design department thriving for future grads.
 
“I simply wanted to give back to the university as a small token of thanks for the opportunities it trained me for, particularly the graduate-integrated circuit design group,” Michael said. “My career opportunities opened up tremendously because of my master’s in electrical engineering studies, and I want to support the next generation of circuit designers.”
 
Michael and Faye have two daughters and a son. Their oldest daughter Julie attended Texas A&M and graduated with a bachelor’s in marketing in 2008. Michael said she is faithfully training her 9- and 11-year-old daughters to continue the Aggie tradition.

Giving with a purpose

Contributions to excellence funds allow our department to have a direct and immediate impact on the program and student experience. Excellence fund earnings are directed at the discretion of the department head to projects such as equipment acquisition, facility improvements, awards for teaching and research, student-driven professional development activities and more. If you are interested in supporting the department’s goal or would like more information on how you can give, please contact True Brown, director of development.