April 28, 2006
La Jolla, CA – Dr. Irwin Jacobs, QUALCOMM co-founder, has been named chairman-elect of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies’ Board of Trustees. Dr. Jacobs will assume his new role in November when current chairman Jerry Kohlberg retires.
The decision was made during the Board’s semi-annual meeting April 28. His appointment comes on the heels of the Institute’s announcement in March when the Board of Trustees elected Dr. Jacobs to the position of vice chair, along with Richard Freeman, president and chief operating officer of the San Diego Padres; and Ted Waitt, co-founder of Gateway, Inc.
“I am delighted the Trustees unanimously agreed that Irwin is the right successor to lead the Board,” Kohlberg said. “With his commitment to the Institute’s basic biological research and success in business, I’m confident he will serve the Salk well in the future.”
Salk Institute President Richard Murphy said: “The naming of Dr. Jacobs to chairman-elect reflects the growing importance of the San Diego business and volunteer communities in the Salk’s operations. Irwin is one of the few people who can compare with Jerry Kohlberg in business success, commitment to basic biomedical research, and high ethical principles. He is a worthy successor to Jerry, and we are delighted to have him as Salk’s Board leader.”
Dr. Jacobs and his wife, Joan, first became involved with the Salk Institute in 2004 when they helped establish the Crick-Jacobs Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology, which uses sophisticated computation-based modeling methods to understand how the brain processes information.
The couple is well known in the philanthropic community as major supporters of the San Diego Symphony, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the La Jolla Playhouse, and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Business Week magazine ranked the Jacobs as the country’s 22nd most generous philanthropists in 2005.
A leader in wireless communications, Dr. Jacobs is credited with the commercialization of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology after co-founding QUALCOMM in 1985. CDMA is the basis for all third-generation (3G) wireless networks, which now carry the voice and data traffic of more than 273 million subscribers worldwide.
More than 130 companies license CDMA technology from QUALCOMM to manufacture wireless devices, network infrastructure equipment, and integrated circuits. Dr. Jacobs holds 13 CDMA patents as part of QUALCOMM’s portfolio of more than 4,500 issued and pending U.S. patents.
Originally from New Bedford, Mass., Dr. Jacobs’s stellar achievements in communications technology began during his tenure as an associate professor at MIT, where he received his doctorate of science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1959 and became involved with leaders in information theory.
Dr. Jacobs went on to serve as professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UCSD from 1966-1972 and co-authored Principles of Communications Engineering, a textbook that is still used today.
He has received the National Medal of Technology, the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell medal, and the Franklin Institute Bower Award in Business Leadership, among others.
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and the training of future generations of researchers. Jonas Salk, M.D., whose polio vaccine all but eradicated the crippling disease poliomyelitis in 1955, opened the Institute in 1965 with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes.