Date:  May 7, 2013


NAE Receives $500,000 Gift from W.M. Keck Foundation to Name and Endow the Simon Ramo Founders Award


WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Engineering has received a $500,000 gift from the W.M. Keck Foundation to endow and name NAE's Founders Award after Simon Ramo, the only surviving founding member of the NAE.  Ramo turns 100 today.


Ramo was a member of a committee of 25 that in 1964 advocated for establishing the National Academy of Engineering, which operates under the congressional charter that established the National Academy of Sciences.  The Founders Award was established the following year to honor an outstanding member or foreign associate who has upheld the ideals and principles of the NAE through professional, educational, and personal accomplishment.  The award is presented at the NAE's annual meeting each October.


"The Keck Foundation is pleased to make this gift in honor of Si Ramo," said Robert Day, chairman and CEO of the W.M. Keck Foundation. "The naming of this award for Si is a fitting way to express our appreciation for his championing of cutting-edge scientific and medical research and for his service as a valuable adviser to our grantmaking."


"It is most gratifying to name this prestigious award after Si Ramo, who was so instrumental in the creation of the NAE almost 50 years ago," said Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. "The NAE is very grateful to the W.M. Keck Foundation for helping us honor this great man by endowing this award." 


Ramo earned Ph.D. degrees in physics and electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology when he was 23.  As a scientist at General Electric from 1936 to 1946, he was internationally recognized as a pioneer in microwaves, which are essential for radar and advanced communications.  He also developed GE's electron microscope.  Before he had turned 30, Ramo already held 25 patents.  He went on to serve as vice president and director of operations at Hughes Aircraft Co. and played a key role in establishing many successful corporations, including the Ramo-Woolridge Corp., which eventually became TRW.  He was also chief scientist for the U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile program in the 1950s. 


In addition to his NAE membership, Ramo was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1974 and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and several other professional societies.  He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.  In 2008, Ramo was appointed Presidential Chair and professor of electrical engineering at the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering.  Ramo has written several critically acclaimed books on a wide range of subjects from the application of science and engineering to social problems to world economics, and even tennis.


The W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Co.  In recent years, the foundation has focused on four broad areas: science and engineering research; undergraduate education; medical research; and southern California.  Each of the foundation's grant programs invests in people and programs that are making a difference in the quality of life, now and for the future.

The mission of the National Academy of Engineering is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.  NAE will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014.



Molly Galvin, Senior Media Relations Officer

Chelsea Dickson, Media Relations Assistant

Office of News and Public Information

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