Skywater CEO and alumnus receives honorary degree from S&T

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On May 16, 2024

Thomas John Sonderman, Doctor of Engineering, Honoris Causa

Thomas John Sonderman of Apple Valley, Minnesota, the CEO and director of SkyWater and a Missouri University of Science and Technology graduate, was awarded the doctor of engineering, honoris causa, during a Missouri S&T spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11. 

Sonderman was appointed SkyWater’s lead executive and elected to its board of directors in 2017. SkyWater is a U.S.-investor owned semiconductor manufacturer.  As CEO, he oversees efforts to maximize shareholder value through collaborating with customers, partners and other external stakeholders to drive the company’s long-term vision for the future. He has been instrumental in leading the company’s successful business transformation, and he led SkyWater’s initial public offering in April 2021. 

Sonderman has effectively diversified SkyWater’s customer base and leveraged SkyWater as a U.S.-based semiconductor foundry to expand the company’s government business and reinstate a strong commercial manufacturing presence in the U.S. He has built a leadership team that inspires 800 employees. 

Prior to joining SkyWater, Sonderman’s extensive industry experience included all aspects of fab operations and delivering market leadership and increased shareholder value to high-technology industry leaders Rudolph Technologies, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and AMD. 

Sonderman earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1986 and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from National Technological University in 1991. A widely recognized subject matter expert, Sonderman holds 50 patents and is a highly sought-after industry speaker. He addressed graduates as a commencement speaker during Missouri S&T ceremonies last December and has shared his expertise by participating in the university’s NSF-funded Resilient Supply of Critical Minerals workshop.

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