Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Makes a 1987 Guest Appearance at OCAS

By Janice Schulz

UC OMI College of Applied Science poster for Wozniak appearanceAs the Engineering and Applied Science merger comes to a conclusion, College of Engineering and Applied Science Library Director Ted Baldwin has presented the Archives with some interesting material from his offices at the former CAS Library. Recently we came across a reminder that an intriguing guest speaker was on the agenda for OCAS’s 1987 Technology Exposition. Steve Wozniak, who prefers to be addressed simply as “Woz,” co-founded Apple Computer Inc. in 1976 along with Steve Jobs. Woz was the engineering muscle behind the development of the Apple I and Apple II personal computers, released in 1976 and 1979 respectively. In 1981 a plane crash forced him to take time off from Apple and he decided to return to the University of California at Berkley to complete his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and computer science. (To divert attention away from himself, he enrolled under the name Rocky Raccoon Clark.)   He returned to Apple in 1983, but left again in 1985 to devote his attention to inventions and education.

At the time of his visit to OCAS, Woz had just started a new company and was coming out with a universal remote control device. In fact, that device was what enabled UC to book him. Not one to normally accept speaking invitations, Woz was planning to be at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago the day after the Technology Exposition to introduce his remote control and he decided that since he would be in the area he would visit UC as well. It was quite an achievement to have Woz at your event in those days, and his appearance highlighted the importance of OCAS in the world of technical education. Since those days, Woz has devoted a good bit of his time to educating children about the world of technology. He appears at schools and he has invested a great deal of money to provide schools with technology for education. While he has not had a working role in Apple since his departure in 1985, he continues to invest in the company. Woz can now be found at http://www.woz.org/.

The OMI College of Applied Science held its first Technology Exposition in 1986 to highlight senior projects and to allow participants to learn more about the college and its programs. The Expos are reminiscent of the Ohio Mechanics Institute’s Grand Industrial Expositions held from 1870 to 1888. The Archives & Rare Books Library has an impressive collection of OMI material that includes information about the expositions. A complete finding aid can be found on the ARB website and on the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository.

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