Distinguished Alumni Awards

Milton M. T. Chang

Milton M. T.  Chang
To Milton Chang in recognition of his engineering contrubutions and entrepreneurial activities in applied optics and for his advocacy and encouragement of engineers to be entrepreneurs.

Chairman, New Focus, Inc., Santa Clara, California

  • BS, 1964, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • MS, Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology
  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology

Milton Chang has a distinguished record for starting successful high-tech companies. Through his technical, managerial, and business expertise, he has actively participated in the founding and nurturing of more than a dozen companies without experiencing a single failure. He received his BS degree from Illinois with highest honors. After graduating, he worked for Northrop Corporate Research Laboratories for 2 years before joining the start-up Newport Corporation. He was with Newport for 17 years, became CEO and President, and took the company public. The laser instruments and vibration isolation optical tables manufactured by the company are widely used in laboratories around the world. Chang then founded New Focus, and the company very quickly established a reputation for innovative precision optomechanics, ultrafast photodetectors, and wavelength-tunable lasers. These products are providing important new capabilities in telecommunications, metrology, and environmental sensing.

Throughout his career, he has openly shared his business knowledge with fellow engineers, giving lectures and writing articles about entrepreneurship. He now writes two monthly business columns for the Laser Focus World and Photonics Spectra.

Chang is a fellow of the Optical Society of America and of the Laser Institute of America and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He received the George Goddard Award from the International Society for Optical Engineering in 1983 and the Arthur Schawlow Medal from the Laser Institute of America in 1989. From 1996 to 1998, he served on the Visiting Committee for Advanced Technology of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 1994, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Urbana presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Current as of 1999.