T. J. Rodgers

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Thurman John "T. J." Rodgers (born March 15, 1948)[1] is the founder of Cypress Semiconductor. He is known for his public relations acumen, brash personality, and strong advocacy of laissez-faire capitalism. April 28, 2016 he stepped down from CEO of Cypress semiconductor stating, "To be completely candid, the board and even the executive staff have urged me to bring in new blood into operations."[citation needed][2]

Early life[edit]

Rodgers received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in 1970, graduating as salutatorian with majors in chemistry and physics. He received his master's degree (1973) and Ph.D. (1975) in electrical engineering from Stanford University. While pursuing his Ph.D. degree, Rodgers invented the VMOS process technology, which he later licensed to American Microsystems, Inc. He founded Cypress Semiconductor in 1982. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala City.

Rodgers on Diversity[edit]

In 1996, Rodgers made headlines when Sister Doris Gormley, the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, sent him a form letter encouraging him to hire women and minorities on the Cypress board. He replied with a long letter defending his hiring practices and philosophy.[3][4] In 1999, he wrote an editorial in the San Jose Mercury News denouncing Jesse Jackson's attack on Cypress Semiconductor on what Jackson claimed was discriminatory hiring practices.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Rodgers is an avid jogger and wine enthusiast. He is a supporter of several charities, including Second Harvest Food Bank, and served as a trustee on the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2012.[6] He is the husband of Valeta Massey.[7]

Awards and recognition[edit]


  • Entrepreneur of the Year by City of Santa Clara, California



  • Outstanding Individual Entrepreneurship Award from the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship


  • Award from the Healing Institute for his support of the Carver Scholars Program


  • Cited as one of the "100 People Who Changed Our World." by Upside
  • Silicon Valley Capitalism Award for "exemplifying the virtues of capitalism and defending capitalism with ethical principles in the media."
  • Angel Award by the International Angel Investors organization for his venture-capital activities supporting the semiconductor industry
  • Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies at California State University, Hayward


2005 :

  • Inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Council Hall of Fame.


  • Honored with a Fellow Award from the International Engineering Consortium.


  • Spirit of Ireland Award


US3878552 – Bipolar Integrated Circuit and Method.
US3924265 – Low capacitance V groove MOS NOR gate and method of manufacture

US3975221 – Low capacitance V groove MOS NOR gate and method of manufacture

US4222063 – VMOS Floating gate memory with breakdown voltage lowering region
US4222062 – VMOS Floating gate memory device

US5835401 – DRAM with hidden refresh
US4764248 – Rapid thermal nitridized oxide locos process

US5977638 – Edge metal for interconnect layers.

US6131140 – Integrated cache memory with system control logic and adaptation of RAM bus to a cache pinout

US6185126 – Self-initializing RAM-based programmable device.

US6835616 – Method of forming a floating metal structure in an integrated circuit
US6730545 – Method of performing back-end manufacturing of an integrated circuit device

US6903002 – Low-k dielectric layer with air gaps.
US6847218 – Probe card with an adapter layer for testing integrated circuits.

US7045387 – Method of performing back-end manufacturing of an integrated circuit.


  1. ^ http://www.mercurynews.com/portal/news/ci_15844839
  2. ^ "Cypress CEO to Step Down". www.cypress.com. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  3. ^ Rodgers, T. J. (1996-05-23). "Profits vs. PC – A Silicon Valley CEO says no to boardroom quotas — on moral grounds". Reason. … Thank you for your letter criticizing the lack of racial and gender diversity of Cypress's Board of Directors. I received the same letter from you last year. I will reiterate the management arguments opposing your position. Then I will provide the philosophical basis behind our rejection of the operating principles espoused in your letter, which we believe to be not only unsound, but even immoral, by a definition of that term I will present. 
  4. ^ <http://www.cypress.com/documentation/ceo-articles/cypress-ceo-responds-nuns-urging-politically-correct-board-make>
  5. ^ "Valley Should Stand Up To Jackson's Divisive Tactics". San Jose Mercury News. March 14, 1999. 
  6. ^ "Trustees Emeriti". Dartmouth College. Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.mercurynews.com/portal/news/ci_15844839
  8. ^ Information on Patents Archived February 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.


  • T. J. Rodgers; William Taylor; Rick Foreman (1993). No-Excuses Management: Proven Systems for Starting Fast, Growing Quickly, and Surviving Hard Times. Bantam Dell. ISBN 978-0-385-42604-6. 

External links[edit]