2007 Honorary Degree
Alan J. Levy
Doctor Of ScienceAlan Levy has distinguished himself with extraordinary success in bringing innovative medical devices from inception to market.
He is now president and chief executive officer of Northstar Neuroscience, Inc., a company he founded in 1999 to address stroke and other neurological diseases and disorders. He resides in Bellevue, Wash.
Dr. Levy was born and raised in New York City and, after earning his bachelor's degree from City College of New York, came to Purdue for his post-graduate work, earning his doctorate in chemistry in 1962.
The first 23 years of his career were spent with Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson, where he was responsible for the acquisition and/or development of a large number of medical products. Dr. Levy left his position as vice president of research and new technology at Ethicon in 1989 to become president and chief operating officer of Heart Technology, Inc., building the organization from 20 people to 200 in four years before it was sold to Boston Scientific Corp.for $500 million.
In 1993, he became president and CEO of Heartstream, Inc., and watched it grow from 11 people to 140 in five years before negotiating its sale to Hewlett-Packard for $140 million after the development of the award-winning Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).
Because several hundred-thousand people a year were dying from sudden cardiac arrest, Dr. Levy and his team envisioned making the external defibrillator very small and lightweight. Their goal was to have defibrillators widely deployed, like fire extinguishers, and so simple to use that unskilled operators, even bystanders, would be able to use them. Since Heartstream introduced this medical product to the market in the mid-1990s, hundreds of thousands of AEDs have been deployed on airplanes, in office buildings, schools, health clubs, and private homes, resulting in saving thousands of lives.
Dr. Levy is on several corporate boards and ha