A Mexican teenager who speaks no English and ends up graduating from a Texas high school as valedictorian is a pretty good story. A better story is that young man growing up to become one of the leading executives in the American technology sector. Dr. Hector Ruiz finished at the top of his high school class and went on to eventually receive a Ph.D. from Rice University. He began work with Texas Instruments and then moved to Motorola where he rose to become one of that company's top executives. In 2000, he joined Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., one of the world's leading semiconductor companies and he now serves as that company's Chief Executive Officer.
As part of an effort to help the underprivileged, Dr. Ruiz announced at the 2004 World Economic Forum in Davos AMD's 50x15 initiative, a commitment to empower 50% of the world's population with basic Internet access by the year 2015.
Earlier this week I read the amazing story of the race to develop automobiles that drive themselves. In essence, we're talking about autopilot for cars. They steer, brake, change lanes, park themselves, etc. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (aka DARPA which, by the way, brought us the Internet) is sponsoring a competition to spur development of these vehicles which can really help mankind by saving lives by preventing accidents involving human error (which are most) and dramatically increasing the number of vehicles on the same roads (thus reducing urban sprawl). Plus, you can save a whole lot of stress each day if you didn't have to pay attention to traffic.
In 2005, German immigrant Sebastian Thrun led the Stanford University team in the creation of Stanley, an automated automobile that won his university the $2,000,000 prize. Stanley is a modified Volkswagon Taurag that managed to run through a 132 mile course in just over six hours without the benefit of a driver. Incidentally, Professor Thrun was on Popular Science's 2005 Brilliant Ten list. Very cool, Professor Thrun!
2007 marked the 70th anniversary of the publication of British-born Professor Ronald Coase's landmark paper "The Nature of the Firm" which established the field of transaction cost economics. 54 years later Coase would win the Nobel Prize in Economics "for his discovery and clarification of the significance of transaction costs and property rights for the institutional structure and functioning of the economy."
I know Professor Coase more for his 1961 paper "The Problem of Social Cost" which set out was is now known as the Coase Theorem. The paper set out a new field of law and economics and when Professor Coase joined the University of Chicago Law School faculty three years later, he established the school as the leading institution in the world for the economic analysis of law.
I had the privilege of attending law school at the University of Chicago and Professor Coase's scholarship has had an ongoing influence in the way I look at law including immigration law. At 97, by the way, Ronald Coase is still going strong and continuing his research. I hope folks are one day able to say the same about me.
In 1989, when I was a 22 year old law student, I was in London talking to law firms about possibly working in that city. I happened to attend a show in previews in the West End by the name of Miss Saigon which was the follow up production from the creative team that created the musical Les Miserables. Miss Saigon was a pop update of the opera Madame Butterfly so I figured the show would have a good plot. And it did. But the most memorable part of the evening was the singing of the 18 year old Filipina star of the show, Lea Salonga.
Miss Salonga went on to star in the show on Broadway and then on to several other successful shows on the New York stage. She still maintains a strong connection to the Philippines and plays concerts there regularly. She is that country's pride and joy and Philippines President Gloria Arroyo made a point of catching Ms. Salonga in New York recently where she was starring in Les Miserable.
Hungarian-born Gábor Csupó is the successful animator who teamed up with his wife Arlene Klassky to bring us a number of animated television series including Nickelodeon's Rugrats, The Wild Thorberries and As Told By Ginger. He also was the executive producer of 36 episodes of The Simpsons. He has won two primetime Emmy Awards for his television work and certainly ranks as one of the top animators in the field today.
Czupo also directed the excellent film Bridge to Terabithia, a film I took my child to see and thoroughly enjoyed.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.