Women in Engineering: Carolyn Campbell Guidry

Editor’s note: March is Women’s History Month, and the LSU College of Engineering is dedicated to celebrating the bright women who have forged careers in science and engineering. Each week, the College will feature a woman—an administrator, a faculty member, a graduate student, and an alumna—who has made a positive impact on the College and the industry.

Carolyn Campbell Guidry was the student vice president of LSU’s College of Engineering and the first woman to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering here. Nearly 60 years later, she’s just as prominent.

Carolyn, who passed away in 2009, is a member of the College’s Hall of Distinction, and her family has continued her legacy through the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Foundation, which she started in 1993 to fund education and the arts.

Carolyn, a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., earned her degree from LSU in 1959, and a week later, she married her college sweetheart, Mark, who she met during an electrical engineering design competition.

“I had created a lie detector, but I was impressed with Carolyn’s transistor amplifier,” Mark told the College during an interview in December. “She won the competition and went on to compete nationally at Duke University.”

The two spent their honeymoon driving to Seattle, Wash., where they began their respective careers at Boeing and started their family. Eventually, after career stops in Iowa, Texas and Louisiana, they moved to California.

In California, Carolyn raised their three children, earned her master’s degree in computer engineering, and joined Hewlett Packard Co.’s computer division.She was a member of the design team for several of HP’s new computers, and she was responsible for the development of a new flexible interconnect ribbon cable and the micro code for a new computer system.

Carolyn, along with her husband, also started two companies—Simon Software, devoted to semiconductor design software, and Avasem Corporation, a semiconductor product development company. Each company later merged with other groups, and each saw great success. One became a public company after three years and is now a leader in its field, and the other sees annual sales exceeding $180 million, with a valuation exceeding $1.7 billion. Together, the companies employ more than 5,900 people.

Outside of the home, office and lab, Carolyn was an active volunteer. She had a passion for children’s education, and served as a full-time volunteer for the Children’s Discovery Museum. There, she developed computer systems and software for the museum, and she assisted in the development of concepts and funding.

She also served as the president of her foundation until her death. Since then, her family has maintained her philanthropic support. Most recently, they pledged $4 million to the College—$2 million to fund The Mark and Carolyn Guidry Chair in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and $2 million to The Mark and Carolyn Guidry Doctoral Fellowship Endowment in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The renovated Patrick F. Taylor Hall will host a laboratory duplex in their name.


For more information contact Sydni Dunn, LSU College of Engineering, 225-578-5706, sydnid@lsu.edu