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Alumnus Victor Tsao (M.S. CS ’80), Co-Founder of Linksys, Establishes Computer Science Student Fund

A generous gift of $50,000 from the Tsao Family will help IIT computer science students with their studies. The Tsao Family Foundation Discretionary Fund for Computer Science will support students in the Department of Computer Science through scholarships, travel grants, equipment, books, special assistance, and other academic-related activities.

The Tsao Family Foundation made its gift after Computer Science Chair Xian-He Sun and College of Science Dean Russell Betts visited with Victor in Hong Kong in December 2013 and discussed the progress and needs of science at IIT.

Victor and wife Janie met as students at Taiwan’s Tamkang University, came to Chicago in 1977 for Victor to go to graduate school at IIT, and then moved to California, where they held IT positions with corporations such as TRW, Neiman Marcus, and Taco Bell.

In 1988, in the garage of their home in Irvine, Calif., Janie and Victor started Linksys. In the early days of the company, Victor worked 100-hour weeks and napped on his office floor, according to the book, “Launching New Ventures: An Entrepreneurial Approach”. Janie took a small salary, but Victor didn’t for many years. Sons Michael and Steven also helped out. Fifteen years later, Linksys had grown to be the global leader in wireless and broadband hardware for homes and small- to mid-sized businesses, and Victor and Janie sold it to Cisco in 2003.

Among their many honors, they were named Entrepreneurs of the Year by Inc. Magazine in 2004 and the International Leadership Foundation in 2006, and among the Top 10 most influential Asian American business leaders by the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce in 2005. Victor received the IIT Alumni Award for Professional Achievement in 2007.

The couple next started a company called Miven Holdings, a multi-stage venture that invests in consumer and technology companies, and a fund of hedge funds for investing in publicly listed companies.

Read an IIT Magazine article about the Tsaos here.

Dean Russell Betts, Victor Tsao, and Xian-He Sun

[from left] Dean Russell Betts, Victor Tsao, and Xian-He Sun