Founders Wall Exhibit Showcases TCI History

Founders Wall Exhibit Showcases TCI history

        Next time you’re in the TCI lobby, take a minute to check out the Founder’s Wall. Located just past the guard on the right hand side of the building’s entryway, the showcase features articles and memorabilia from TCI College’s early days when it was known as RCA Institute.

        Curated by TCI Librarian Daniel Marshall and Professors Dr. Peter Slater and Peter Illich, it features publications, photographs and vintage radio equipment.

So far, it seems to be attracting some attention.

         “I’ve been cleaning thumb and nose prints off the glass since we installed the exhibit,” says Daniel Marshall. “Students have been very interested in it. The items in the exhibit show TCI’s history and how we got to where we are today.” 



         Founded under the leadership of Nobel Prize recipient Guglielmo Marconi, TCI was a leading center for education and development in the communications industry. Later, graduate David Sarnoff, pioneer of American commercial radio and television, and co-founder of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), propelled the school forward.

        “The most interesting aspect of TCI’s history was how the classes were able to change with the times and provide students with the most up-to-date and state of the art technology,” says Marshall.


        A few of the highlights include: 


Rare RCA Institutes Multimeter

         Given out as an assembly kit with black leather case and strap, this was one of the kits that students in home correspondence courses in radio repair assembled during the 1960’s. 



Inventing the Future (David Sarnoff)

            This celebratory volume chronicles many of the developments pioneered since 1987 at the Sarnoff Corporation, named in honor of David Sarnoff, TCI’s long-time visionary leader. In 1986, General Electric had acquired RCA and, in 1987, re-distributed most of RCA’s components (except the crown jewel, NBA television) to various companies. The RCA central research laboratory, the David Sarnoff Research Center, went to SRI International (Menlo Park, CA), becoming the Sarnoff Corp., a subsidiary with headquarters in Princeton, NJ. In 2011, Sarnoff was fully integrated into SRI as SRI International Sarnoff. A contract research provider worldwide, Sarnoff Corporation has pioneered in global innovation and marketing.


The RCA Institutes Catalog for 1956 – 1958

            This course catalog includes a resident school, an evening resident school and a home study school. Courses were offered in radio and television servicing, color television, radio and television broadcasting, and radio telegraph operating. Kits were provided for the home study courses.


Advertisement in “Popular Science Magazine”, September 1960

            By this time, RCA Institutes had a branch in Los Angeles and offered four home study (correspondence) courses, covering the entire field of radio and television servicing. The four kits, pictured in the advertisement were provided free to home study students. 

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