"Virtually every person in the world has been, or
will be, affected by this discovery."

 

 


Magazine
Fall/Winter 1999

Robert Allen '57
former Chairman and CEO, AT&T

What is the most significant event that has occurred in your profession or field of study during the 20th century? What lesson do you take away from that event?

The invention of the transistor at the Bell Laboratories in 1947 and the subsequent development progression and use of solid-state electronics by the so-called Silicon-Valley companies forever changed the communication industry, and, indeed, the world. Virtually every person in the world has been, or will be affected by this discovery. The lesson: Major societal change can be stimulated by seemingly small events that occur as a result of human creativity—particularly in a free society.

What's the most meaningful life lesson you've taken from your vocation or avocation?

That every man and woman of character -- regardless of means, education, motivation, cultural development, or ethnic origin -- can realize meaningful achievement and "happiness" in a free economy.

Who were the mentors who had the greatest affect on your life?

My parents. They, more than anyone else, set the example and emphasized the importance of integrity, character and doing one's "best" in every aspect of life—as the foundation for a successful and rewarding existence.

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