Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder and philanthropist, spoke on Monday, Feb. 1 to a crowd of over 3,200 people in Savage Arena as part of the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.
During the lecture, Wozniak talked about success, the pursuit of passions, advancements in technology, and his own part in helping Apple become the company that it is.
“Mr. Wozniak did a really good job of engaging students,” said Student Government President Cody Spoon. “What he had to say was relevant, not only to engineers, but aspirational minds in general. He had a lot of informative insights that I had not thought of.”
Wozniak discussed how he helped shape the industries of computer science and engineering with his own designs of the first Apple computers, from the original vision he and Steve Jobs shared, to the struggles they faced along the way.
“We knew it would have a major impact on the world,” Wozniak said.
Wozniak met Steve Jobs through a mutual friend and together in 1976, they founded Apple Computer Inc. with Wozniak’s Apple I computer. The next year, he released his Apple II personal computer. This advancement in technology was the beginning of the personal computer industry, according to Wozniak’s website.
Larry Meier, a Toledo community member, came to the lecture because he wanted to hear what Wozniak had to say about the advancement of technology.
“I wanted to hear Steve Wozniak’s point of view,” Meier said after the lecture. “I grew up in technology and I wanted to hear how he thought the past and the present tied together.”
Wozniak’s website said he left Apple Inc. in 1985 and became involved in several business and philanthropic ventures, which focused on hands-on learning in schools and encouraging creativity among students. Wozniak discussed his experience with the dysfunctions of education and his vision for the future, where every person would have a computerized teacher to customize their education.
Spoon said he partially agreed with Wozniak’s stance on education, but that he also values the broader benefits of group education.
“I think there is a lot of standardization that leads to a lack of creativity or a lack of incentives for it,” Spoon said. “I wouldn’t agree to it fully because I believe the institutions that I’m a part of have allowed me to make connections as well as formulate my own ideas about things.”
Wozniak spoke for a little over an hour and touched on a variety of topics, including entrepreneurship, education and technology. Wozniak’s answers were peppered with personal anecdotes that gave insight to his life and his path to success, from moments of inspiration and innovation to his personal philosophy on the things that make life great: “food, friends and fun.”
“I thought the lecture was really informative and very entertaining,” said Sam Aburaad, SG chair of campus affairs. “Steve Wozniak is a very friendly person, very amicable.”
Now in its third year, the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series has hosted a variety of famous speakers including James Carville, Sal Kahn and Karl Rove.
“We want to inspire people, show them leadership skills, and to give them access to opportunities and activities the honors students may not have considered,” said Kelly Moore, interim dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Steve Wozniak satisfies that. He clearly has had a very successful career and, if you put aside financial success, he’s been pursuing his passions, which led to money, but more importantly, it’s inspiring.”
With a variety of speakers coming to UT for the lecture series and bringing with them a variety of crowds, Wozniak still brought one of the largest groups to campus in the series’ history.
“This is my first lecture and it definitely makes me want to go to the next one,” Aburaad said.