John H. Bruning

For outstanding pioneering contributions to semiconductor microlithography and metrology instrumentation.

President and Chief Executive Officer (Retired), Corning Tropel Corporation

  • BS, 1964, Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
  • MS, 1967, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • PhD, 1969, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

John H. Bruning has been a leader in research and philanthropy throughout his career. After completing his PhD at Illinois, Bruning worked at Bell Labs as part of a team that developed high accuracy interferometry for testing optical surfaces and lenses, helping enable 10 to 100 times greater accuracy in manufactured lens components.  He is widely published with 26 patents.  Bruning’s later work culminated with the invention of excimer laser lithography that is still used today to manufacture microchips.

From 1984 until his retirement in 2009, Bruning was part of Tropel’s leadership team—as Vice President and General Manager, President and CEO, and Executive Scientist. In 1994, Bruning and management took the company private, and during the next decade, Tropel (which later merged with Corning) grew from a $10 million to a $25 million-a-year business. 

Bruning was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1998.  He is a Fellow of IEEE, the Optical Society of America, and the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers.  In 1997, Bruning served as President of the American Society for Precision Engineering, where he was responsible for starting the business forum at the annual conference.

Bruning has given generously to both the University of Illinois and the University of Rochester.  His $1 million gift established the Yuen T. Lo Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois, honoring the work of his dissertation advisor.  He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1992.  In addition, Bruning has served as a trustee at the University of Rochester since 2009 and is actively involved with the Rochester Museum and Science Center.