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Technology pioneer William R. Hewlett dead at 87

William R. Hewlett, a founder of the technology giant Hewlett- Packard Co. and a Stanford alumnus, died Friday morning at his home in Palo Alto. He was 87.

"Stanford has lost one of its most loyal supporters as well as a trusted friend and adviser," President John Hennessy said.

Funeral services are being arranged.

Hewlett helped to make Stanford what it is today through his generous support. Over the years he and his business partner, David Packard, another Stanford graduate, donated more than $300 million to their alma mater. But they also helped to shape the university through their ideas.

"They not only shared their wealth; they shared their wisdom in running Stanford University," said John Ford, vice president of development.

Indeed, Hewlett served as a trustee of the university between 1963 and 1974. He also served on the board of governors of the Palo Alto-Stanford Hospital Center (now the Stanford Medical Center).

"Bill and Dave gave gifts that touched all seven schools, the Hoover Insitution and the Athletics Department," Ford said. "In addition, their gifts -- in part or in whole -- probably fund more than 100 faculty members and hundreds of students on this campus every year who are receiving fellowships and scholarships."

In 1994, each contributed $12.5 million for the establishment of a fellowship in honor of their mentor, the late Stanford Professor Frederick Terman. Later that year, they contributed $77.4 million for the completion of the Science and Engineering Quadrangle.

"Bill represents the best of what philanthropy is," Hennessy said. "He never sought the limelight for his tireless contributions to the public good. His generosity was based on the belief that those who have had the good fortune to succeed should devote themselves to the betterment of society."

A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Hewlett moved to California at age 3, when his father, a doctor, joined the faculty at Stanford Medical School. In 1930, Hewlett, who had shown a keen interest in science during his youth, enrolled at Stanford, where he met Packard. Packard died in 1996.

Hewlett graduated in 1934 with a bachelor's degree and, in 1936, earned a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then returned to Stanford, where he earned a master's degree in engineering in 1939. That same year, he married Flora Lamson, a biochemist.

Professor Terman, a pioneer in the field of radio engineering, urged the two young men to look into starting an electronics company. And on Jan. 1, 1939, they founded the Hewlett-Packard Co. with $538 of their own money.

Now, the company that began in a one-car garage consists of two multi-national enterprises -- Hewlett-Packard Co. and Agilent Technologies, Inc. -- that, together, had a total revenue of $59.6 billion in fiscal year 2000 and more than 135,000 employees.

In 1977, Flora Hewlett died. In 1978, Hewlett married Rosemary Bradford, who survives him.

He is also survived by five children -- Eleanor Hewlett Gimon, Walter B. Hewlett, William A. Hewlett, James S. Hewlett and Mary Hewlett Jaffe -- and five stepchildren -- David C. Bradford, Robert A. Bradford, Peter K. Bradford, Jeffrey M. Bradford and Deborah Bradford Whelan.

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