Steve Wozniak named as 2013 commencement speaker

By Jodi Guglielmi, A&E Editor

September 5, 2012

Steve Wozniak, known to many as “Woz,” was announced as the 2013 High Point University commencement speaker. While the name might not immediately jog one’s memory, he might be better recognized as “the Apple guy.” Known for his partnership with the late Steve Jobs, Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer, Inc. with Jobs and Ronald Wayne in 1976.

Wozniak met Jobs through a mutual friend during his short enrollment at the University of Berkeley. Working mostly out of Jobs’ garage and bedroom, the two paired up and created the Apple 1 in 1976. The success of their project prompted Wozniak to quit any previous commitments and go into business with Jobs. Together they attempted to design a more user-friendly alternative to the computers being introduced by International Business Machines during that time.

With Wozniak’s knowledge of electronics and Jobs’ keen eye for creative design, the two were the perfect pair to do business together. By 1983, the company, which began as just one simple idea, had a stock value of more than $985 million.

Wozniak ended his full-time employment with Apple in 1987, 12 years after having co-founded the company. While he no longer works with the company, he remains involved and is an Apple shareholder.

He then went on to work on other business ventures, including CL 9, the company responsible for the first programmable, universal remote control. Named one of “Silicon Valley’s most creative engineers,” in 1990 he joined Mitchell Kapor in establishing the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that provides legal aid for computer hackers facing criminal prosecution.

Since leaving Apple, Wozniak has provided all the money, as well as a decent amount of technical support, for the technology program in his local school district. Wozniak also lent his name to the Stephen G. Wozniak Achievement Awards (referred to as Wozzie Awards), which he presented to Bay Area high schools and college students in 1986 for their innovative use of computers in the fields of business, art and music.

Wozniak has been well recognized for his work in the electronic field. He has won numerous awards honoring his dedication and hard work. He has also received several honorary degrees from universities such as the University of Colorado at Boulder, North Carolina State University, Michigan State University and more.

HPU students were anxious to hear the announcement of the speaker and most could not be happier.

“I’ve been using Apple products throughout all of college, so I immediately knew who Steve Wozniak was when his name was announced. I can’t wait to hear what kind of insight about the business world Steve Wozniak will have for us,” said Emily Krewson, senior at HPU.

Underclassmen were impressed with the selection and look forward to whom their commencement speaker will be. Laura Sukys, a sophomore, said, “Every commencement speaker keeps getting better and better. While I’m jealous that I won’t get to hear Steve Wozniak speak, it makes me even more excited as to who will speak at my graduation.”

With his knowledge into the world of technology and his past of creating a billion-dollar company from the ground up, Wozniak will be able to provide the graduating class of 2013 with words of wisdom and advice to take with them into the future.