Former Chairman and CEO of Harris Joseph A. Boyd Passes Away April 19 at Age 98

By  //  April 20, 2019

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Two-Time Florida Tech Board of Trustees Chairman Served University for 28 Years

Joseph Aubrey “Joe” Boyd, the former chairman and CEO of Harris Corporation who joined Florida Tech’s Board of Trustees just five years after the university was founded, passed away Friday morning in Vero Beach. He was 98. (Harris Corporation image)`

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Joseph Aubrey “Joe” Boyd, the former chairman and CEO of Harris Corporation who joined Florida Tech’s Board of Trustees just five years after the university was founded, passed away Friday morning in Vero Beach. He was 98.

Boyd was president of Brevard County-based Radiation Inc. in 1963 when he joined the board at Brevard Engineering College (the university was still three years away from being renamed Florida Institute of Technology).

He remained at the company as it merged with Harris-Intertype Corporation in 1967, and in 1976 was named chairman and chief executive officer of what was now called Harris Corporation.

An engineer by training with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Boyd truly understood the value and importance of education.

He would go on to serve 28 years as an active member of the Florida Tech board, from 1963 to 1991, including two terms as chairman.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Joseph A. Boyd, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harris; Phillip W. Farmer, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harris, and current Florida Tech Board of Trustees chairman; William M. Brown, current Harris chairman, president and chief executive officer; Florida Tech President and chief executive officer Anthony J. Catanese; and John T. Hartley, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harris. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

He was later named Trustee Emeritus.

“Dr. Boyd’s leadership on our Board spanned almost half of this university’s history,” said Dwayne McCay, Florida Tech president. “His steady influence and dedication were critical to our evolution in those early years. We are grateful for his service and will miss his friendship.”

Within just a few years of being named to the board, Boyd made a substantial impact on the university. It was in August 1966 when he donated his 39-foot yacht to Florida Tech’s fledgling oceanography program. The vessel was re-christened “Miss FIT.”

Jay Bain, a 22-year-old graduate student in the program at the time, declared that the vessel was “the dream of every oceanography student.”

Boyd’s distinguished service on the Florida Tech board ushered in a powerful partnership between the university and Harris Corporation.

He was the first of four Harris leaders to serve on the board, with former Harris CEOs Phillip W. Farmer and John T. Hartley also serving. Harris Chairman, President and CEO William Brown is currently on the board.

“We are all deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Boyd, who played a pivotal role in establishing Harris’ roots as a technology innovator and building our earliest presence here in Central Florida,” Brown said. “Joe’s passion for technology, education and community established a solid foundation that we continue to build on today.”

Brownlie & Maxwell Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

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