When Dr. Jason Rhode was applying to graduate programs in electrical engineering, he was accepted by several schools. But one stood out.
“NC State really went out of their way to make sure I knew that they wanted me to come there,” said Rhode, who earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering in Raleigh.
Rhode is now president and CEO of Cirrus Logic, a premier supplier of high performance, low-power integrated circuits for audio and voice signal processing applications based in Austin, Texas.
He says NC State, and the College of Engineering, continue to stand out.
His company has built a strong relationship with the College and particularly the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Rhode has returned to campus to talk to ECE undergraduates about the value of earning a graduate degree and spoke to engineering and computer science freshmen at the 2015 College of Engineering Welcome. Cirrus Logic recruits heavily from ECE, for both interns and full-time employees.
The department’s master’s degree track in circuit design applies particularly well to Cirrus’ work processes.
“We can hire people out of there with a master’s degree, and they can really hit the ground running,” Rhode said.
Cirrus Logic is continuing to invest in ECE by creating a Distinguished Professorship and Term Professorship with a total gift of $708,106. Utilizing the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund, which was established in 1985 by the North Carolina General Assembly, the goal is to receive the state match of $334,000 to then establish a $1,000,000 distinguished professorship.
The company also created the Cirrus Logic Michael L. Hackworth Design Fellowship Program in 2013, which provides an award of $80,000 over two years and an internship opportunity to ECE students interested in mixed signal circuit design. In 2015, Cirrus Logic made a $100,000 commitment for discretionary support to provide the department with the resources needed to have optimal flexibility and respond to opportunities and challenges quickly.