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K-State News
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Engineering Hall of Fame to induct pair of new members

Friday, Feb. 9, 2024

MANHATTAN — The Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at Kansas State University will induct an accomplished internet communications platform officer and a trailblazing computer science professor into its Hall of Fame at the Seaton Society Award Celebration on March 1.

Induction to the hall is the highest honor the college bestows on its alumni. Honorees are recognized for their professional success and accomplishment, involvement with and support of the College of Engineering, dedication to K-State, and professional and public service.

Nick Chong, Los Altos, California, is the chief customer officer at Zoom, responsible for the company’s global customer support and services organization. He graduated from K-State with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering in 1991 and also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Santa Clara University.

Prior to becoming chief customer officer, Chong was Zoom’s head of global services, responsible for global professional services and Zoom Rooms evangelism, and head of product marketing. He has an extensive background in technology, market development, product strategy and pursuit of customer satisfaction.

Before arriving at Zoom, Chong was the founder of the first emerging technology business unit at Cisco Systems in India. He led business incubation, technology acquisition and go-to-market strategy. He also held senior leadership roles as director of product management at Perfigo, which was acquired by Cisco, and director of global support at IntruVert Networks, which was acquired by McAfee. Both network security solutions attained the No. 1 market leadership positions and evolved to become critical stakes of the $3 billion network security market. Additionally, Chong spent more than seven years with Cisco Global Support and Services in San Jose, California and Brussels, Belgium.

Elizabeth A. "Beth" Unger, Manhattan, Kansas, retired from a career at K-State spanning 47 years as a professor of computer science, as well as vice provost for academic services and technology and dean of continuing education. She earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and a master’s in mathematics from Michigan State University in 1961 and 1963, respectively. She earned her doctorate in computer science from the University of Kansas in 1978.

Unger started her career in 1958 programming a first-generation computer used to design the cyclotron at Michigan State. Her work during summers for IBM involved the first automation of an auto assembly line and control of switches on the natural gas pipelines. She assisted with the design for the first public research network, MERIT.

Unable to acquire a position as an engineer in industry, Unger arrived at K-State when the then-dean of engineering arranged a position for her in mathematics and the university's computing center. She held various other positions at K-State including associate director of the computing center and associate dean of the graduate school. Her work as vice provost and dean of continuing education included service to the campus for academic computing, networking, telephonic, television, technical infrastructure for teaching and learning and the development of online courses.

Teaching and research were the focus of her career. She guided, as major professor, 18 doctoral students and 221 master’s students; authored more than 100 refereed articles and six books. She was also a co-principal investigator along with Ruth Dyer and Beth Montelone on a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant to help women scientists and engineers achieve tenure.

Unger was active with a variety of organizations, including the dean’s alumni advisory board at Michigan State, computing accreditation (now in ABET) where she was named a fellow, and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, where work included measurement of economic impact of universities. She was named a distinguished alumna at both Michigan State and Hastings High School in her hometown of Hastings, Michigan.

At K-State, she advocated for women’s athletics on the K-State Athletic Council during integration in the 1960s and 70s, served with the IDEA Center Board as a member and chair, and chaired boards for the Flint Hills Breadbasket, Friends of McCain and the K-State Gardens.

Unger married her husband and K-State alumni Sam and the two had three children and six grandchildren together.

Media contact

Division of Communications and Marketing


Carl R. Ice College of Engineering

News tip

Manhattan, Kansas; and Los Altos, California.


Download the following photo.

Nick Chong

Nick Chong, chief customer officer at Zoom, is a 2024 Carl R. Ice College of Engineering Hall of Fame inductee.

Download the following photo.

Beth Unger

Beth Unger, a trailblazing computer scientist and professor and administrator at K-State, is a 2024 Carl R. Ice College of Engineering Hall of Fame inductee.

Written by

Grant Guggisberg