Eugene McDermott, Class of 1919, Hon. Sc.D. ’60: Seismic Expert, Texas Instruments Founder, Howe Center Benefactor
Eugene McDermott, Class of 1919, Hon. Sc.D. ’60 (1899-1973), was a transformational force in science and industry.
After graduating from Stevens, he worked for Goodyear Rubber Company and Western Electric, completing a master's in physics at Columbia University and developing seismic exploration services for the petroleum industry. That work led to multiple publications and five patents.
McDermott served in the U.S. Navy and later was a civilian consultant to the Office of Scientific Research and Development. In 1951, he formed Texas Instruments (TI), serving as board chairman for a time and remaining on the board for the rest of his life; TI would eventually pioneer the mass-market, handheld calculator in the early 1970s.
McDermott remained active in numerous scientific and professional societies, regularly contributed to technical journals, and developed inventions ranging from geochemical applications to antisubmarine warfare.
He was also passionate about education. With his wife Margaret, he contributed generously to a range of educational and cultural organizations. In 1960, the couple donated $1.25 million to Eugene's alma mater to support construction of the landmark Stevens tower we know today as the Wesley J. Howe Center.
In addition to honorary degrees from Stevens and other universities, McDermott received papal honors in 1966 for his work on behalf of Christianity and the Linz Award in 1972 for his service to the city of Dallas.