CMU and College of Engineering Celebrate Class of 2013 at Silicon Valley Campus-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, August 12, 2013

CMU and College of Engineering Celebrate Class of 2013 at Silicon Valley Campus

CMU alumna Cindy Padnos of Illuminate Ventures was the keynote speaker at the Silicon Valley campus graduation ceremony.
CMU alumna Cindy Padnos of Illuminate Ventures was the keynote speaker at the Silicon Valley campus graduation ceremony.

With a bright blue California sky as a backdrop and a traditional Scottish bagpiper heralding the processional, Carnegie Mellon University honored 71 students receiving diplomas at the University's Silicon Valley Campus Sunday, August 11.

This marked the 11th graduation ceremony for Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley campus (CMU-SV), part of the College of Engineering, which conferred master of science degrees to 37 Software Engineering students and 34 Software Management students in the Class of 2013. James Garrett, dean of the College of Engineering, was in attendance to preside over the ceremonies.

"Go forward aggressively," he said to the graduating students. "Carnegie Mellon students are makers, doers, creative problem solvers, and creative problem finders."

Garrett, the Thomas Lord Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, became dean in January 2013. This was his first Silicon Valley graduation ceremony. He was joined in hosting by Martin Griss, associate dean and director of the Silicon Valley campus, who will step down as director at the end of this academic year. Griss was honored the previous night at the 4th Annual Tech Showcase.

Many of the graduating students had also presented projects and demonstrations at the showcase to close out their CMU experience. As they waited for the start of the ceremony, they shared hugs and photos, donning mortarboards and tassels, black gowns and hoods with bright orange trim, signifying the master's degree in engineering, lined with the Carnegie Mellon tartan.

Cindy Padnos, a graduate of CMU's Tepper School of Business and now founder and managing partner of the venture capital firm Illuminate Ventures, gave the keynote address. As an entrepreneur, she said, Carnegie Mellon and Silicon Valley represent the "intersection of two environments that were most influential in my life" and called the campus an "amazing nexus."

She went on to advise the graduates to be flexible and to "take intelligent risks" as they move forward in their careers. With the global challenges ahead, from the economy to the climate, Padnos said "it seems like the biggest risk of all is being optimistic. But optimism is always a risk worth taking."

CMU students in robes and hoods before teh ceremony

Each year, CMU-SV presents three awards during the graduation ceremony, recognizing the accomplishments of students and alumni from the Silicon Valley campus in serving the university and the community. Steven Rosenberg, associate director of the Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley campus, presented the Outstanding Service Award to two individuals, graduating student Dan Fortner (MS Software Management) and alumnus Krishna Mohan Bheemanadham (MS SE '12). Fortner was very active in planning and participating in many of CMU-SV's extra-curricular activities, and he was also one of the team members of the Coco Dojo project, which was an Outstanding Entry at the 2013 Tech Showcase. Bheemanadham serves as chair of the Alumni Association, organizing several professional and social events in San Francisco Bay Area to connect CMU-SV with other local CMU alumni and CMU communities around the world. This year he initiated the popular "Gateway to Silicon Valley" series of fireside chats.

Griss recognized the recipient of the Dean's Return on Education Award, alumna Ana Pinczuk (MS SM '10). While she was a student at CMU, Pinczuk was promoted from Vice President of Cisco's Global Technical Center to Vice President of its Services Transformation Group, where she is now Senior Vice President, leading teams in marketing, sales, business development and engineering. She also serves on the advisory board of CMU's Silicon Valley campus and offers guidance to current students on projects and careers. Classmate Frank Guitierrez (MS SM '10) accepted the award on Pinczuk's behalf.

Distinguished Research Fellow Steve Ray presented the final award for Outstanding Research Assistant to graduate Mark Hennessy (MS Software Engineering). Hennessy was an assistant on a project funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to investigate the use of semantic web technologies to improve interoperability among smart devices, writing and presenting a paper at the 35th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2013) during his first semester; in his second semester, he joined a team of researchers from CMU, NIST and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan, to work on the broader issue of ontology-based interoperability.

As the ceremony concluded, Dean Garrett invited the graduates to rise and express their thanks to the families and friends who had supported them as they earned their degrees, and Andrew Shaindlin, CMU's associate vice president for alumni relations and annual giving, encouraged the new alumni to remain engaged and in contact with the CMU network across the globe.

More than 700 students at the Silicon Valley campus have received CMU diplomas since its inaugural graduation in 2003, joining nearly 95,000 alumni worldwide and almost 7,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area.