Celebration to Honor 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Howard Vollum, Founder of Tektronix

Portland, OR  (Profitable.com)  Howard Vollum , one of Oregon’s most prolific and innovative leaders would have been one hundred years old on May 31, 2013.  To celebrate the centennial of this great man’s birth and legacy, VintageTek Museum, Tektronix and University of Portland’s Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering invite the public to a celebration on Friday, May 31 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in Shiley Hall on the University of Portland campus.

Charles Howard Vollum was born in Portland, Oregon, on May 31, 1913 and died on February 5, 1986, at age 72. He enrolled at the University of Portland in 1931 and completed a two-year program in engineering in 1933. He then transferred to Reed College where he majored in physics, graduating in 1936.   Following his graduation, in the midst of the “Great Depression,” Howard worked as a radio technician building, repairing radios until he got inducted into the U.S. Army in 1941. Howard served as an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1942 to 1945 serving in England and New Jersey on artillery fire control radar. Howard’s wartime experience gave him the opportunity to study the state-of-the-art technology on Cathode-Ray-Tube (CRT) Displays and to collaborate with other experts in this field.

In 1946 he co-founded a company with Jack Murdock to design, manufacture, and market laboratory oscilloscopes. The company was first named Tekrad, but a month later changed its name to Tektronix (drawn from “technology” and “electronics”), due to a trademark conflict. Tektronix built its first high-performance, low-cost oscilloscope, the 511, using electronic parts purchased from government surplus sales. When released in 1946, the device was superior to any oscilloscope on the market. Considered the “father” of Oregon’s electronics industry (Silicon Forest), Howard built Tektronix with a heritage focused on enabling innovation, which remains a steadfast cornerstone of the company’s philosophy today.  Today, when you view a web site, click a mouse, make a cell phone call, or turn on a TV you touch the work enabled by Tektronix. Howard was a major donor and contributor to the University of Portland and served on its board of trustees from 1955 to 1986. The Vollum Study Room located in the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering is named in his honor. His contributions to Oregon education, business and culture are too numerous to mention.

The festivities will include welcome remarks by Shiley School of Engineering dean Sharon Jones followed by presentations by former and current Tektronix employees and Vollum’s sons, Don and James Vollum , and the unveiling of an extremely rare, vintage Tektronix 511 Oscilloscope found recently in storage in Shiley Hall.

The event is free and open to the public.  Please RSVP to Jamie Strohecker , engineering, at (503) 943-7292 or stroheck@up.edu by Tuesday, May 28.

vintageTEK.org is a charitable, educational and scientific museum founded to commemorate the early history of Tektronix, Inc. and its role in spawning approximately 300 high technology companies in the ‘Silicon Forest’ – i.e. the four county, two state metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon.

Our main goal is to share our knowledge and history and to “pique the interest of young people in science and technology and to challenge them to become the technologists of the next decades”.


For more than sixty-five years, engineers have turned to Tektronix for test, measurement and monitoring solutions to solve design challenges, improve productivity and dramatically reduce time to market. Tektronix is a leading supplier of test equipment for engineers focused on electronic design, manufacturing, and advanced technology development. Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, Tektronix serves customers worldwide and offers award-winning service and support. Stay on the leading edge at www.tektronix.com.

The University of Portland is an independently governed Catholic university guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross. U.S. News & World Report ranks the institution as one of the top ten regional universities in the American West. It is the only school in Oregon to offer a College of Arts & Sciences, a graduate school, and nationally accredited programs in the schools of business, education, engineering, and nursing.