Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, spoke at Elon University's Fall Convocation on Thursday, Oct. 3, and encouraged students' creativity and promoted innovation. The ceremony was held in Alumni Gym at 3:30 p.m. and was preceded by a discussion with students in Whitley Auditorium at 1:15 p.m..
Mr. Wozniak arrived on campus on Wednesday evening and was hosted by President Leo Lambert at the Maynard House. In a tweet, President Lambert described the keynote speaker as "delightful and engaging."
The engineer is recognized for revolutionizing the computer industry by working hand-in-hand with Steve Jobs to establish the Fortune 500 Company, Apple. Wozniak is most widely recognized for his work at Apple, but he now serves as the chief scientist for Fushion-io, a computer software company.
The keynote speaker aimed to inspire students by telling humbling tales of his own success The Alumni Gym was filled to capacity for the sold out event.
He started by speaking about how his introverted personality allowed him to explore his capabilities.
"I grew up shy, and that forces you to believe in yourself and trust your own thinking" Wozniak said.
As a child, rather than playing with other children, Wozniak would explore his father's books on mathematics and engineering and was soon winning competitions, awards and recognition for his outstanding knowledge.
The crowd laughed as Wozniak discussed how he would use his knowledge of technology to play pranks on his classmates. Eventually, though, he swapped the practical jokes for practical innovation and began creating computer programs. One of his first programs involved a game of chess.
Despite being notorious for his pranks in high school, Wozniak strongly promotes education. After hitting the big time, Wozniak went back to school to finish his degree. He enrolled under the fake name, Rocky Racoon Clark.
He also secretly taught as a fifth grade teacher at the height of his career.
Wozniak believes that technology will enhance education by personalizing the learning experience. He predicts that computers and tablets will be able to customize teaching styles to each individual child in a way that one teacher cannot.
"Technology is going to be the solutions to the great problems of the world" said Wozniak.
Wozniak's recognitions include, being inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and being awarded the National Medal of Technology, known as "the highest honor bestowed on America's leading innovators," by President Ronald Reagan in 1985.
Additionally, Wozniak is also a New York Times best-selling author for his autobiography iWoz and competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2009.