President and CEO (Retired)
Rockwell Scientific Company
“Purdue education has provided me with a solid foundation to build and refine all the other knowledge as I progress through different stages of my career. I have been particularly benefited from classes that I took in signal processing and control (neither are my specialty), which provide me with a systemwide view and a problem-solving mentality."
Dr. Derek Cheung earned a BS with the highest distinction in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1969. He continued his education at Stanford and received a Ph.D. in EE. Cheung experienced the early days of Silicon Valley phenomenon while working at Fairchild Semiconductor’s R&D Lab from 1969 to 1972. In 1975, he joined Rockwell International Corporation, a major conglomerate with products such as space shuttle, B-1 bomber, GPS satellites/receivers, modems, avionics and industrial automation systems. Cheung spent 32 years with Rockwell, including becoming the Director of their central research lab, and VP of Research for the entire corporation. He received the Da Vinci Award as The Engineer of the Year of Rockwell in 1982. Cheung retired in 2007 and joined UCLA as an adjunction professor where he founded the Institute for Technology Advancement to facilitate the commercialization of potentially high impact research results from UCLA and helped to spin off four companies based on high potential research results. He authored the book “Conquerors of the Electron” in 2014, which was highly acclaimed. In 2018, Cheung founded a new startup to leverage wearables and AI-based technology to screen for body motion related health irregularities for the general public, especially the elderly population.