Donald W. Hamer

Donald W. Hamer
Donald W. Hamer

Scientist, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, whose contributions to thick-and thin-film technology have made a significant impact in biomedical, communications, aerospace, and defense industries.

Donald Hamer has made outstanding contributions to the field of materials science and engineering, particularly the area of thick and thin film resistors.

The first of his family to earn a college degree, Hamer graduated from the University of Illinois in 1945 with a Bachelor of Science degree in ceramic engineering and later an MBA from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. In between, he served in the Navy at the end of World War II and again during the Korean Conflict.

In 1963, Hamer joined Erie Technological Products of State College, PA, as chief engineer of the materials division before later being promoted to corporate research director. During that time, he pursued a BS degree in electrical engineering from Penn State, which he completed in 1968.

In 1969, he founded State of the Art, Inc., to produce educational seminars and consulting services on thick film technology. State of the Art has evolved into a leading manufacturer of high reliability resistors in the microelectronics market. In 1980, the company developed nickel barriers that virtually eliminated solder leaching problems, which have become the industry standard. In 1987, State of the Art, became the first manufacturer of quality military grade chip resistors to "S-level" reliability standards (fewer than one failure per million hours of operation).

Hamer continues to serve as Chairman of State of the Art, Inc., which is now the leading American supplier of high reliability thick and thin film resistive components to the biomedical, communications, aerospace, and defense industries.

A noted philanthropist, Hamer funded the establishment of the Hamer Small Business Initiative at the University of Chicago in 2004. He has strongly supported initiatives at both Illinois and Penn State. He has served on the boards of ClearWater Conservancy, the Palmer Museum of Art, The Nature Conservancy of PA, and the Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Hamer has also supported conservation, helping to establish a 640-acre prairie restoration project near his hometown of Byron, IL, and with his wife, Marie Bednar, donating $2.5 million to The Pennsylvania Nature Conservancy to aid in their purchase of the 3100-acre West Branch Forest in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, and also to endow the costs of a forester and other operating and maintenance costs. He has also established the Hamer Center of Community Design (part of Penn State University's Landscape Architecture School). In 1992, he was awarded the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Award in a White House ceremony.


  • BS Ceramic Engineering, 1945
  • MBA University of Chicago, 1951
  • BS Pennslyvannia State University, 1968