John Medica (MBA ’83) remembered


The Wall Street Journal published a tribute to University Trustee and dear friend John Medica (MBA ’83).  He served on the School’s Board of Visitors since 2001, and became a member of the Board of Trustees in 2009. The Deans Suite in Farrell Hall bears his name.

As computers shrank into laptops and notebooks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, some of the top makers of desktop machines stumbled in their efforts to adapt. Two of them, Apple Computer Inc. and Dell Inc., called on John Medica, a boisterous electrical engineer, to help them get back on track.

In 1989, Apple introduced a portable Macintosh. Considered too expensive and bulky, it bombed. Apple assigned Mr. Medica, a 31-year-old, to head a team of engineers in a crash program to design a laptop. The result was the PowerBook, which became a huge success after its introduction in 1991.

Dell poached Mr. Medica in 1993 after its laptops were panned for quality problems and deemed too slow to compete with the PowerBook and other rivals. Before accepting the offer, he received assurances that he could bring his English sheepdog, Maggie Mae, to work with him at Dell’s offices in Austin.

His team at Dell came up with the Latitude line of notebook computers, introduced in 1994. They made a splash with their lithium-ion batteries, a novelty then.

Mr. Medica died of a heart attack Oct. 13 in Reston, Va. He was 59.

Read the full story at the WALL STREET JOURNAL.

The University has also posted a tribute to John Medica. Please visit