Distinguished Alumni Awards

Donald W. Hamer

Donald W. Hamer
To Donald W. Hamer for his entrepreneurial skills and leadership in the field of think-and thin-film technology and for his philanthropic activities.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, State of the Art, Inc., State College, Pennsylvania

BS, Ceremic Engineering, 1945

Donald Hamer has made outstanding contributions to the field of materials science and engineering, particularly the area of thick- and thin- film resistors. After leaving UIUC in 1945 with a BS in ceramic engineering, he worked as an engineer in several companies, where his advancement reflected his skills and leadership. He became interested in the business world and, in 1958, earned an MBA from the University of Chicago. In 1963, he joined Erie Technological Products in State College as chief engineer of the materials Division. To learn more about electronic application of products, he took classes at Pennsylvania State University and earned a BS in electrical engineering in 1968. By the time he left Erie Technological Products to start his own company; he had become corporate research director.

In 1969, he founded State of the Art, Inc., to produce educational seminars and consulting services on thick-film technology. The company soon expanded into manufacturing and began producing and selling resistors. In 1980, the company developed nickel barriers that virtually eliminated solder leaching problems, which have become the industry standard. In 1987, State of the Art became the first (and still only) manufacturer of qualify military-grade chip resistors to “S-level” reliability standards (fewer than one failure per 100 million hours of operation) and today continues to build a product line that has one of the lowest failure rates in the world. Donald Hamer and company are known for the design and manufacture of specialized, high-reliability electronic components. Under his direction, State of the Art has become a leading manufacturer of a range of thick- and thin- film resistors with a worldwide market.

Anxious to share his success with others, he has an impressive record of philanthropic activities and feels strongly about “giving back.” He has fostered the development of young people through many of these activities. He is a strong supporter of UIUC, Pennsylvania State University and its Pattee Library, and the University of Chicago and actively supports environmental work and the arts. A recent activity is to help establish a 640-acre prairie restoration project adjacent to this home town of Byron, Illinois.

He is a fellow of the American Ceramic society and received the Daniel Hughes Memorial Award from the International Society of Hybrid Microelectronics in 1975. In 1990, Pennsylvania State University recognized him as an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus. He currently serves on the Senior Advisory Committee to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UIUC. He has faithfully supported both the UIUC Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the College of Engineering.

Current as of 1995.