Engineering a Career
Bill Halpin ’88, G’95, G’05
Syracuse University has played a large part in Bill Halpin’s life, beginning in childhood. “My earliest memory of the University is going with my dad and brothers to the last football game at Archbold Stadium before it was demolished to make way for the Carrier Dome,” he says. “My dad went to SU and my mom worked there. One of my first jobs was at SU, parking cars for football and basketball games.”
As a first-year student at Syracuse, Halpin met Gerhard Baule, an engineering professor and co-founder of the Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering (CASE), who would have a profound effect on Halpin’s life. “Professor Baule was nice enough to mentor me, giving me random assignments in the area of artificial intelligence, logic programming, and databases,” he says. “This research was a great complement to classes and fueled my interest in engineering. It also led to us starting a company named IQE, to commercialize his research ideas.”
When Halpin was a senior toying with the idea of going to law school, Professor Baule shared his thoughts on the pluses and minuses of choosing a career in law over engineering during a late-night conversation. “After that, I put any ideas about law behind, and I’m very thankful to him,” says Halpin, who went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in economics and computer engineering, and master’s and doctoral degrees in computer engineering at SU.
Staying connected in Silicon Valley
After stints at Intel, GE, Synopsys, and Synplicity, Halpin now works at Google's Mountain View headquarters, leading quality efforts for Google's mobile display ads. “I came to Silicon Valley in the mid-’90s after two grad school friends, Naresh Sehgal and RK Anand, suggested I come here to work,” he says. “I followed their advice, joining Naresh at Intel. This decision changed the direction of my life—helping me to work on real-world problems in my research and connecting me to the technology scene in Silicon Valley.” He lives in Palo Alto with his wife, Hollie, and their four children: Alex, Amelia, Julia, and Cate.
Through the years, Halpin has maintained his SU connections, serving on the College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean’s Leadership Council, the University’s San Francisco Regional Council, and meeting with professors and students. He has also kept in touch with many fellow Bay-Area SU alums. “My SU grad school classmates are some of my closest friends,” he says. “Two of them, Nag Veerapaneni and Uminder Singh, work with me, and it’s great to be able to see them frequently. I see the wider group at SU events and other meetings.”
Syracuse University has been the recipient of Halpin’s philanthropy—he gives not only financial support, but the benefit of his expertise. “I was able to finish SU with little debt because of the scholarships I received,” he says. “Since graduating, I have donated to the University and request that the money be used to help students directly. I go back to campus to recruit for Google and we have hired an increasing number of SU grads.”