Silicon Valley Campus Celebrates 10th Graduation Ceremony-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Silicon Valley Campus Celebrates 10th Graduation Ceremony

Dr. Edward H. Frank, VP at Apple, Inc. addressed graduates at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley campus' 10th Graduation.
Dr. Edward H. Frank, VP at Apple, Inc. addressed graduates at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley campus' 10th Graduation.

Their hard work paying off, sixty-three students from Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley, representing the Master of Science in Software Engineering, Master of Science in Software Management, and Master of Science in Information Technology, received their diplomas on Sunday, August 12. The class of 2012 represents the tenth anniversary class of students graduating from the Silicon Valley campus, established in 2002 at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

The traditional bagpiper led the procession followed by students decked out in their robes and newly bestowed orange and tartan hoods. Carnegie Mellon Provost and Executive Vice President, Dr. Mark Kamlet presided over the ceremonies.

This year’s ceremony welcomed the Mayor of Mountain View, Michael Kasperzak, who on behalf of the Mountain View City Council congratulated the graduates on their achievement and encouraged them to be more than simply academics: “I want to challenge you to focus some of your energies on your community. You have the influence to make our communities a better place to live and a better place to do business.”

CMUSV also welcomed Dr. Edward H. Frank as this year’s keynote speaker. Dr. Frank is currently a Vice President at Apple, Inc. and a Life Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, also serving as chairman of the Inspire Innovation Capital campaign. He and his wife, Sarah G. Ratchye (A’83), are among the co-founders of the Silicon Valley campus.

Frank welcomed the graduating class into the Carnegie Mellon family, expressing his hope that their experience at CMU has “changed your life as it has changed mine.” In true CMUSV learn-by-doing style, Frank based his keynote address off of three widely popular commencement speeches, CMU alumni Aron Ralston’s 2011 commencement address at Carnegie Mellon University, the late Professor Randy Pausch’s talk in “The Last Lecture Series” given at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007, and the late Apple founder Steve Jobs’ keynote address at Stanford University in 2005.

Interpreting these earlier words of advice, Frank first encouraged students to create the best products possible because “a bad day is harming someone else through a product you have designed.” He then offered a different take on Pausch’s statement that, “It doesn’t matter how well you polish the underside of the banister,” reflecting, “It is the details that make products great. In fact, it is sometimes the seemingly irrelevant details that are the most important, so do not neglect to ‘polish the underside of the banister'.” Referencing Jobs’ speech, Frank encouraged students to “live every day not as if it is your last but as though it is your first because it is that mindset that will allow you to be curious, bold, ask, ‘why,’ and behold all the possibilities before you.” Frank concluded his talk by asking graduates to remember CMU even as they leave, giving them one last piece of advice: “Be willing to challenge what you hear. Be curious, informed, have courage in your convictions, and work hard.”

As is custom, three students were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the campus during the graduation ceremony. Associate Director of the Silicon Valley campus, Steven Rosenberg presented the first award, the Outstanding Service Award to Surbhi Dangi (MS Software Engineering), for her contributions to the Carnegie Mellon community as a student ambassador, assisting in numerous recruitment events and dedicating herself to improving the prospective student experience. Dangi has also positively impacted the campus as a tireless social planner, organizing events and creating a sense of fellowship among her peers.

The Dean’s Return on Education Award was created to recognize graduates and recent alumni who successfully have put their Carnegie Mellon educations into practice by advancing their careers, contributing to their companies, and inspiring others to do the same. Director of the Silicon Valley campus, Dr. Martin Griss presented this year’s award to the EngageClick team of Shekhar Deo and Manoj Rajshekar (MS Software Management ‘11). Deo and Rajshekar took a raw idea and evolved it into a company in the two years that they spent in the Software Management program. This evolution of a raw idea into a financeable company, EngageClick, is the product of CMU's focus on creating and implementing solutions for real-world problems.

Professor Patrick Tague presented the last award, the Outstanding Research Assistant Award which recognizes a full-time graduate student who has demonstrated exemplary performance and made significant contributions as a research assistant, to Borys Boyko (MS Software Engineering). Boyko was also recognized the previous night at the Tech Showcase for his design and development of the CMUSV Android Room Manager system, which is now a deployable system on-campus and has received interest from companies such as Motorola and Cisco for internal use.

The ceremony ended with the bagpiper leading the recessional. The Class of 2012 assembled on the stairs of Building 23 just as they did as incoming students, only this time providing a picture-worthy moment, throwing their hats in the air as Carnegie Mellon’s newest alumni. Martin Griss kicked off the reception afterwards with a champagne toast for family and friends, putting the cap on a weekend of celebration.

Over 600 students have received diplomas from Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley since its inaugural graduation in 2003. More than 90% of alumni report greater career acceleration than their counterparts due to the educational and professional preparation they received at Carnegie Mellon.

To learn more about Graduation Weekend 2012, read about our 3rd Annual Tech Showcase and Alumni BBQ

Photos of the event: