“When I talk about Santa Clara, I always say that I got a very good engineering education but equally important to me was the liberal arts education I received,” says Hemant Thapar ’73, M.S. ’75.
He is also part of the 2019 class elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest honors in the field.
The Academy recognized Thapar’s lifelong work making the storage of digital information more efficient and its retrieval more accurate—ideas and technology that accelerated the speed of innovation, creating the ever smaller drives that made the first iPod possible, for example.
The ideas and mentors who shaped Thapar’s experience at Santa Clara act as an anchor for his career.
“You look up to some people who are accomplished, who have a certain discipline. You see how they approach problems and treat people around them.”
In engineering, one of his mentors was Professor Tim Healy—who saw Thapar return to SCU as a lecturer for more than a decade and join the advisory board for the School of Engineering, and saw Thapar’s daughter Pooja Thapar ’14 graduate.
Thapar and his wife, Suniti Thapar, have also become supporters of the next generation of students.