T. Tucker, 1963 graduate and distinguished alumnus of RIT's
College of Engineering, is now executive vice president and
deputy to the chief executive officer, Motorola, Inc. As a Motorola
executive, Tucker has formed a strong partnership with RIT:
the company funds professorships held by Lynn Fuller, microelectronic
engineering department head, and Michael Lutz, software engineering
program head, and also employs about a third of RIT's microelectronic
engineering graduates. Tucker also serves on RIT's Board of
Trustees. TheUniversity Magazine caught up with Tucker in Austin,
Texas, via telephone last spring to discuss, among other things,
his days as an RIT student.
When Fred Tucker
entered RIT in the fall of 1958, making the trek upstate from
tiny Herkimer, N.Y., he first lived in downtown's former Rochester
Hotel, which had been converted to a men's dormitory.
"I came to RIT from
a poor background," recalls Fred Tucker. "My family had very
little money -- none to send me to college. I worked two jobs
after school and summers and I managed to save $2,000 to attend
Although the cost
of living in the early 1960s was much lower than it is now,
$2,000 only could be stretched so far. Although Tucker had some
scholarship money ("I wasn't a great scholar," he says, "just
adequate."), his first year in Rochester was a lean one. "It
was a struggle," he says. "It was a tight budget -- I had $7
a week to live on."
His creative solution
to his money problems was his own informal "food plan." His
roommate, Nick Lysenko '63, came from a home nearby. Lysenko's
Ukrainian mother loved to cook big meals. "During the week I
would go to Nick's house for dinner and eat like a king. Then
his mother would make some sandwiches for me out of all the
leftovers. I paid them $5 a week to cover expenses and that
fed me all week, leaving $2 for other essentials."
An RIT co-op opportunity
at General Motors-Delco helped make his next four years financially
easier, he says. "It was a bonus for me. I came away from RIT
with minimal debt. I had money to pay my bills. I had a head
start in my career, compared to graduates from other schools.
"Students often need
financial help. With co-op and scholarships, they can manage
at RIT, just like I did," he says. "With the education and experience
I received at RIT, I've carved a good career -- by the time
I was in my mid- to late-30s I was already a vice president."
After joining Motorola
in 1965, Tucker served in a number of senior management positions,
including president and general manager of the automotive, computer
and energy sectors. He is a patentee in the field and also has
served on an advisory body to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"I have endowed a
scholarship for RIT students in my mother's name. When I was
a student, I had a scholarship established by a New Jersey woman.
It wasn't a huge amount of money, but it made a big difference
"I'm hoping my mother's
scholarship will do the same for someone else."