Bernard A. Newcomb

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Bernard A. Newcomb
Bernard Alan Newcomb

November 10, 1943
Alma materOregon State University
Occupationformer VP Engineering and co-founder of E*TRADE
Spouse(s)Carol J. Kearney (1999-2001)
Partner(s)Gerry Marshall (2003-present)

Bernard (Bernie or Bing) Alan Newcomb is an American businessperson and philanthropist who, along with William A. Porter, founded the online discount stock brokerage firm, E*TRADE. Newcomb is legally blind.[1]

Early life[edit]

Newcomb grew up in Scio, Oregon. He is the middle child of Lyle and Agnes Newcomb. Born with congenital cataracts, Newcomb has always been legally blind.[2][3]

He attended the Oregon School for the Blind [4] from kindergarten through second grade, having to board during the week and return home on weekends. He attended public schools in Scio through high school where he graduated as class valedictorian.

Newcomb was the first in his family to attend college as a business major at Oregon State University and consistently made dean's list and graduated third in his class in the College of Business. Newcomb received his B.A. in Business Administration from Oregon State University in 1965. He is a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. Upon graduation, he found that accounting firms and banks did not consider him employable because of his blindness. His college counselor persuaded General Electric to hire Newcomb in their data processing department at the Hanford Project in Richland, Washington, where he was employed for three years.

Creation of E*TRADE[edit]

In 1980, in Palo Alto, California, Newcomb met Bill Porter [4] who had recently purchased an Apple II computer with the idea that a personal computer could be used to buy and sell stock, but having no means of accessing the necessary information with his modem. During the conversation, Porter convinced Newcomb to become partners and create a company that would enable an individual with a personal computer to trade stocks from home—to disintermediate stock buying. Newcomb's role was to develop the programming for the project.

In 1992, PC Magazine featured Trade*Plus on its cover. In 1992, The San Jose Business Journal named Trade*Plus the year's fastest-growing private company in Silicon Valley.[4] In 1996, Trade*Plus was renamed E*TRADE Group and went public. Newcomb was incentivized to retire soon after and established a philanthropic foundation, the Bernard A. Newcomb Foundation.

Later work and charities[edit]

In 1997, Newcomb gave Oregon State University the largest stock gift in its history: $6.1 million in stock from the company he helped found and created four new endowments to directly benefit students and academic programs in the College of Business.[5] Each year he meets with the winners of the scholarship that bears his name. Additionally, after Weatherford Hall underwent $20 million in renovations in 2004, the cyber cafe was named Bing's as a reference to his childhood nickname.[6]

Newcomb co-launched ITXS, an auction site for second-hand IT-related items, with Herb Swanson and Mike Symons in 2000.[7]

Newcomb was awarded with the Helen Keller Achievement Award by the American Foundation for the Blind in 2006 for his work to improve the quality of life of the blind.[8]

In 2005 Newcomb donated $5 million to the Peninsula Community Foundation.[2] The Foundation later merged with Community Foundation Silicon Valley to become the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Newcomb has also donated to Scio High School, Scio, Oregon, in support of its sport programs, specifically football. In 2000, he and his family donated $1.3 million to build a football field, track, stadium (including locker rooms, a weight room, and wrestling room), and parking lot.[9] In 2013, Newcomb donated another $850,000 of the total $1.3 million project cost for the purchase and installation of new artificial turf at the stadium.[10][11]

Newcomb is also a supporter of the Castilleja School, most recently donating to the renovation of its Gunn Administration Building; the 2nd floor Newcomb Board/Conference Room is named in his honor.

Personal life[edit]

On September 11, 1999, Newcomb married Carol J. Kearney in Bend, Oregon. They later divorced on June 26, 2001. He has no children.

Newcomb lives a quiet life, residing in Palo Alto with his girlfriend, Gerry.


  1. ^ "Newcomb Family Scholarship". College of Business. 2014-10-01. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  2. ^ a b "E-Trade founder gives $5 million for Peninsula community grants". San Francisco Chronicle, Christopher Heredia, September 2, 2005. August 29, 2010.
  3. ^ "Newcomb tells of hard work, perseverance". Corvallis Gazette-Times, Matt Neznanski, February 25, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "Bernard A. Newcomb Donor Profile". American Foundation for the Blind.
  5. ^ "OSU Business College receives $6.1 million stock gift"., Don Parker, August 27, 1997.
  6. ^ ".$4M gift launches residential entrepreneurship program at OSU"., Ron Adams, December 6, 2002.
  7. ^ "E*TRADE Co-Founder Launches Auction Click And Mortar"., Michael Singer, November 10, 2000.
  8. ^ "Donor Profile".
  9. ^ "Mid-valley people who left their mark on the world". Corvallis Gazette-Times, Jennifer Moody, April 2, 2009.
  10. ^ "Scio high school to dedicate new turf". Salem Statesman Journal, Justin Much, October 1, 2013. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014.
  11. ^ "Scio ready to debut its new turf field". Albany Democrat-Herald, Bob Lundeberg, September 5, 2013.