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Engineering Education Innovators

Innovations in Engineering Education

Mark and Carolyn Guidry at the 2006 Engineering Awards Banquet (photo courtesy of the Guidry family).

Media contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, CA – To support San Jose State University’s groundbreaking efforts to develop new approaches to teaching engineering, the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation has made a $2.5 million gift commitment, establishing the Carolyn Guidry Professor of Engineering Education.

“We are grateful the Guidry family values San Jose State’s position at the forefront of the transformation now underway in higher education,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “The Carolyn Guidry Professor of Engineering Education will help SJSU make a major impact in this field.”

The Carolyn Guidry Professor of Engineering Education will be a senior faculty member who is a national leader in engineering education and higher education research. This professor will conduct research in approaches and strategies for teaching engineering, resulting in the development of best practices for retention and learning outcomes for engineering students at the university level.

“My family strongly believes in the power of education and that we must continually transform engineering education to produce graduates with the tools needed for the world as it will be, not merely as it is today,” said Gayle Guidry Dilley, Carolyn’s daughter and the president of the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation.

All three of the couple’s children graduated with degrees in engineering or computer science. David earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA at London Business School; Mike earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering at San Jose State; and Gayle earned a bachelor’s in computer science at Chico State.

Mark and Carolyn Guidry

The late Carolyn Guidry, ’79 MS Computer Engineering, was born in Mississippi and spent her childhood in various states across the Deep South. She earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Louisiana State University in 1959. One week after graduation, she married Mark Guidry, a fellow electrical engineering major she met at LSU.

Carolyn began her career at Boeing, but she soon put her engineering career on hold and devoted 20 years to raising their three children. She later returned to school and earned her master’s in computer engineering from SJSU in 1979. She joined Hewlett-Packard and was a member of the design team for several HP computers until 1988. At HP, she was directly responsible for the development of a new flexible interconnect ribbon cable and the micro code for a new computer.

In partnership with Mark, Carolyn founded two successful companies:  Simon Software, a semiconductor design software company, and Avasem Corporation, a semiconductor product development company. Both eventually merged with other companies, and the combined companies became leaders in their respective fields.

Carolyn became a full-time volunteer for the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose, developing its computer systems and software, and assisting in the development of concepts and funding.

Family foundation

After the Guidrys’ second company was acquired by Integrated Circuit Systems in 1993, she founded the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation and managed all aspects of the organization, which is devoted to supporting education and the arts.

Carolyn received an Alumni Award of Distinction from SJSU’s Davidson College of Engineering in 2006, and both she and Mark were inducted into the LSU College of Engineering’s Hall of Distinction in 2001. Carolyn passed away in 2009.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from LSU, Mark took a position at Boeing, in Seattle, Washington. He subsequently earned a master’s in electrical engineering from University of Washington and a doctoral degree from Iowa State University.

Mark taught at LSU, where he conducted research in semiconductor technology, laser technology and radio wave propagation. Prior to founding their companies, Mark, now retired, worked for Fairchild Semiconductor in Palo Alto, a small San Diego company and Texas Instruments in Houston.

San Jose State University — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.