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SCTE Creates Scholarship as Memorial to Doug Semon

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), its global arm, the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE) and the SCTE Foundation today announced a new scholarship that will memorialize longtime cable industry technologist Doug Semon.

The ‘Zelmo’ – Doug Semon Scholarship will award grants each year for an initial period of four years to FIRST robotics teams and their college-bounds seniors. Named in honor of a lifelong nickname Semon used for himself and his work, the award is intended to advance careers in technology, and will be supported by SCTE Foundation assistance in securing internships for winners. Semon was an avid supporter of the FIRST Robotics program in and around Denver, and mentored George Washington High School’s FRC Team 1410, “The Kraken.”   

The award has been created by the SCTE Foundation and past honorees of the Women in Technology Award that is presented annually by SCTE•ISBE, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) and CableFax. Donations can be made at on the ‘Zelmo’ – Doug Semon Scholarship page of the SCTE Foundation website.

“Doug was a formidable champion of cable technology and a tremendous ally of all of us who shared his passion for science,” said Yvette Kanouff, vice chair of the SCTE Foundation, partner and CTO of JC2 Ventures and a WIT Award winner. “On behalf of the SCTE Foundation and all of the Women in Technology winners from the last 25 years, we mourn the loss of a friend and colleague, an industry pioneer, and the husband of our dear friend, Leslie Ellis.”

After beginning his career as a cameraman with Buckeye Cable, Semon moved to Channel 100, where he rose to general manager. As director of new technology with Viacom from 1981-96, he was instrumental in setting up one of the first cable modem trials in partnership with Intel and Hybrid. The trial launched in 1994 and touted 10Mbps downstream and 128Kbps upstream during a time when the industry standard was 28.8 kpbs. Semon joined CableLabs as director of network operations in 1996 and oversaw technology developments and standards for subscriber services for Time Warner Cable beginning in 1998. He holds various patents, was named a Cable TV Pioneer in 2003 and became a DOCSIS Pioneer in 2019. He died on Aug. 18 of complications after a recent heart attack and is survived by Ellis, a technology author and analyst and a longtime contributor to MCN.

“Doug was always quick to see potential – both in our networks and in people – and to provide the guidance that would help them become their best,” said Zenita Henderson, vice president of marketing and business development for SCTE•ISBE and a WIT Award winner. “We are honored to remember the work he has done for our industry, and to help the next generation of technology pioneers in his name. We hope everyone will join us in contributing to Doug’s legacy and to helping young technologists join in his footsteps.”