Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh Smart 50 Awards Class of 2023

January 23, 2024

INI Director Dena Haritos Tsamitis Named to Pittsburgh Smart 50

By Ann Lyon Ritchie and Evan Lybrand

INI Communications Team

On November 29, the most innovative leaders and entrepreneurs from 50 of the region’s most brilliant organizations gathered at The Westin Pittsburgh for induction into the Smart Business Pittsburgh Smart 50 Awards Class of 2023.

The Information Networking Institute (INI) Director and Barbara Lazarus Professor in Information Networking, Dr. Dena Haritos Tsamitis is among the honorees and joins an esteemed list of presidents and CEOs. Haritos Tsamitis is unique among her peers as one of the few representatives from academia.

Haritos Tsamitis has a business-focused mentality that has shaped the INI since she began as director in 2004. Thanks to her leadership, the INI has grown impressively and prepared the next generation of information networking, security, mobile and IoT, and AI engineering professionals from around the world.

INI alumni offer cutting-edge knowledge and skills while also applying business and policy insights. They are sought after by employers for their interdisciplinary strengths. Haritos Tsamitis strategically develops INI programs and curricula to stay ahead of innovation and prepare graduates to be successful engineers and leaders in the world’s ever-changing landscape.

David Brumley, CEO of ForAllSecure and a Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) faculty member, described her as “a visionary leader” whose capabilities “demonstrate that running an academic department is analogous to operating a successful small business.”

As director, Haritos Tsamitis has played a pivotal role on the global stage by building international relationships and partnerships to extend the university’s reach. She was instrumental in launching the Athens Master of Science in Information Networking degree, CMU's first global program. Expanding the reach further, she has spearheaded efforts in support of diversity, equity and inclusion as a passionate supporter of women and underrepresented populations in engineering fields. She has led innovative programs as the founding director of education, outreach and training at Carnegie Mellon CyLab, the university's security and privacy research institute.

Her rigorous planning and resource allocation has ensured that the INI has remained financially secure while staying at the forefront of industry. She has applied her mind for marketing to strategies for attracting top talent to the student body, as well as to the faculty and staff. Since its inception, she has continued to steer the growth and development of the INI faculty into a flourishing team. 

“It is an honor to receive this award and recognition for what we strive to do at the INI: to lead and advance the future of engineering through innovation, dedication and the inclusion of diverse perspectives,” Haritos Tsamitis said.

Haritos Tsamitis has shaped the INI into a dynamic, responsive, self-sustaining academic force. The Pittsburgh Smart 50 Awards celebrate her impactful leadership.