On May 18, Rob Engelke, chief executive officer of Ultratec, Inc., will receive an honorary doctorate at a commencement ceremony at the Kohl Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
Engelke was cited for creating extraordinary advances that have enabled deaf and hard-of-hearing people worldwide to communicate via telephone.
In the 1970s, Engelke was building computers and selling them to campus researchers. At about the same time that Apple's founders were making computers in the garage, Engelke had already moved on.
Realizing that deaf people could not use the telephone, he decided to make a teletypewriter that could communicate via text. Although some deaf people were using clunky, costly teletypewriters cast off by newspapers, their supply was finite.