December 9, 2014

Preoccupied with an LSU electrical engineering design competition, Mark Guidry BSEE 1959 and Carolyn Campbell BSEE 1959 had their sights set on winning, rather than one another, when they first met. But, that would change over the course of their senior year at LSU.

“I had created a lie detector, but I was impressed with Carolyn's transistor amplifier,” recalled Mark Guidry. “She won the competition and went on to compete nationally at Duke University.”

A love story in the making, the Guidry's married the week after earning their Bachelor’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1959, and spent their honeymoon driving across the country to Seattle, Wash., where they began working at Boeing. While they applied what they learned in the classroom during their tenure at Boeing, the skills they acquired beyond lectures and labs were also instrumental to their success.

“The LSU experience involves the bigger picture,” said Mark. “As undergrads, Carolyn and I studied digital and analog computing, but we also served in leadership roles,” said Mark. “Carolyn was student vice president of the College of Engineering and I served as student council representative for the College during our senior year. The leadership qualities we learned served us well.”

Both Guidry’s achieved great success at Boeing, but education beckoned. Mark earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1961 from the University of Washington and PhD from Iowa State University in 1965. He and Carolyn then returned to LSU, where Mark became a faculty member in the Electrical Engineering department while Carolyn devoted her time raising their family.

“Graduate programs are the bridge that attracts professors and gives the university respect in a designated field of study,” said Mark. “When I returned as faculty, I conducted research in semiconductor technology, laser technology and radio wave propagation. I was also teaching classes, serving on committees and authoring numerous publications, but Carolyn was the talented engineer. After the children were in high school, she went back to get her Master’s in Computer Engineering from San Jose State University and joined Hewlett Packard Company, where she was directly responsible for developing micro code for computer systems.”

Those initial connections and memories would later influence a lifetime of giving to LSU’s College of Engineering as both a professor and through the Guidry's philanthropic support. In 1993, after retiring from Hewlett Packard, Carolyn founded the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation to support education and the arts.

“For Carolyn and me, education has always been a driving force in our family and in our foundation’s philanthropic work,” said Mark. “It is important to give a child a good education, and we can help provide that opportunity. LSU is the school where we met, graduated, taught and raised our family for a time, so it is closest to our hearts!”

Sadly, Carolyn passed away in 2009 after a long, courageous battle with complications of vasculitis. “After Carolyn died, our three children assumed a more significant role in our Foundation,” said Mark.

To confirm their parent’s philanthropic vision for electrical engineering education, in 2014, the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation pledged four million dollars to LSU’s College of Engineering.

“As undergraduates, Mark and Carolyn were driven to make a difference on behalf of LSU’s Engineering students through their roles in student government,” said Rick Koubek, dean, LSU’s College of Engineering. “Once again, their leadership shines through with this transformative gift to change lives.”

Two million dollars will fund The Mark and Carolyn Guidry Chair in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Their generous donation will help the College recruit faculty of the highest caliber to direct the School of EECS in research and education.

Additionally, the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Doctoral Fellowship Endowment in Electrical and Computer Engineering will be used to recruit and support outstanding doctoral students, providing the opportunity for upcoming researchers to earn their PhD from LSU.

The Mark and Carolyn Guidry Electrical Engineering Laboratory duplex in the renovated Patrick F. Taylor Hall will provide an environment where students will perform interfacing experiments in the areas of micro fabrication and micro processing in pursuit of the their undergraduate degree.

“These two labs represent the engineering passions of our parents,” said the Guidry’s daughter Gayle Guidry Dilley. “They founded two companies: Simon Software, devoted to semiconductor design software; and Avasem Corporation, a semiconductor product development company. We hope our gift provides future engineers the tools they need to be entrepreneurial in their endeavors to solve global issues.”

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For more information about supporting the LSU College of Engineering, visit http://www.eng.lsu.edu/alumni/give.

Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, mlavall@lsu.edu. 225-578-5706

 



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