Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

April 23: Ian Rawson, Managing Director of Haiti's Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, To Give Keynote Address at Carnegie Mellon Commencement, May 16


Teresa Thomas

Ian Rawson, Managing Director of Haiti's Hôpital Albert Schweitzer,
To Give Keynote Address at Carnegie Mellon Commencement, May 16

Honorary Degree Recipients are Gordon Bell, Robert Dennard,
Barbara Luderowski and James Simons

RawsonPITTSBURGH—Ian G. Rawson, managing director of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, Haiti, will be the keynote speaker for Carnegie Mellon University's 113th commencement ceremony at 11 a.m., Sunday, May 16 in Gesling Stadium on the university's Pittsburgh campus, where more than 3,700 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred.

"We are fortunate to have an outstanding class of honorary degree recipients and a keynote speaker who have had a profound global impact in their chosen fields," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "We are especially pleased to welcome as our keynote speaker Ian Rawson, who has led Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti for many years. He has worked tirelessly and literally non-stop since the devastation of the January earthquake to treat the injured and to care for thousands of refugees. His is a story of leadership and selfless dedication that will inspire and motivate us to respond to the challenges facing the world."

When Rawson was 10, his stepfather and mother, Dr. W. Larimer Mellon Jr. and Gwen Grant Mellon, became acquainted with Albert Schweitzer, the great musician, theologian and physician who founded a hospital in central Africa. They were so inspired by his example that they established HAS in Haiti's Artibonite Valley in 1956, and devoted the rest of their lives to collaborating with the people of the region to improve their quality of life. Rawson served as HAS board chair before becoming managing director. His wife, Lucy, is president of the Board of Friends of HAS, which raises funds and awareness through the sale of Haitian art.

Rawson earned his master's degree in political science from the American University of Beirut, his Ph.D. in medical anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh, and attended Harvard University's School of Public Health executive program in health planning and administration. He was president of the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania, president of AmeriNet Central and a senior manager with Allegheny General Hospital. He served various Pittsburgh cultural and health organizations' boards and advised public health programs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

Rawson is a longtime Pittsburgh resident and member of the Carnegie Mellon community. He has served the university as an adjunct professor in the Heinz College, an advisory board member of TechBridgeWorld, a CMU team of faculty, staff and students that creates and implements technology solutions for developing communities around the world, and a collaborator on a variety of projects to advance social equity.

Leslie McAhren, who will be receiving a master's degree in fine arts, is the student speaker. McAhren is from Albuquerque, N.M. She received her bachelor's degree from Rice University.

This year, Carnegie Mellon will award honorary degrees to:

Gordon Bell, Doctor of Science and Technology
BellBell, the father of the minicomputer and a world-renowned pioneer in high-performance and parallel computing, is a principal researcher at Microsoft's Silicon Valley Laboratory, and for the last decade has been researching digitally storing a person's life. He is revered as part of the startup faculty of Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department, where he was a professor of computer science and engineering from 1966 to 1972, and co-authored with Allen Newell the classic book "Computer Structures." He subsequently collaborated on the design of C.mmp and Cm*, pioneering computers of the Computer Science Department. Bell came to Carnegie Mellon from the Digital Equipment Corporation, where he was manager of computer design and the architect of the first minicomputers and time-sharing computers. In 1986, Bell was asked to establish a computing directorate for the National Science Foundation and to lead cross-agency planning requested by Congress for a network to connect all federal and university research computers, which became the Internet. Bell earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Robert H. Dennard, Doctor of Science and Technology
DennardDennard, who earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 1958, is renowned as the inventor in 1967 of the one-transistor dynamic random access memory (DRAM) cell for IBM — the global standard for low-cost digital memory used universally in computers and other data processing and communication systems today. Dennard also is a pioneer in scaling principles of microelectronics, which provide rules for making circuits smaller in every dimension. In 1972, he and co-workers developed the widely used concept of metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) transistor scaling, showing how to design devices and build highly integrated circuits of micron size. In the 1980s, he led a group that showed how to design devices of submicron dimensions, leading to today's gigabit memory chips and powerful microprocessors. At IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Dennard continues to investigate the limits of scaling and the future evolution of microelectronics. He has received 52 U.S. patents and published more than 100 technical papers to date. Dennard earned bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University.

Barbara Luderowski, Doctor of Fine Arts
LuderowskiLuderowski has been an important force in the transformation of post-industrial Pittsburgh by making immense contributions to the arts community in the region as well as to the redevelopment of the city's North Side neighborhood. Beginning with her purchase of a vacant mattress warehouse in the Mexican War Streets area in 1975, Luderowski has created today's multi-building Mattress Factory, a highly regarded museum of contemporary installation art with a world-renowned artists residency program. Since 1982, she and co-director Michael Olijnyk have brought artists from all over the world and throughout the United States to create more than 350 new site-specific installations, which have attracted tens of thousands of visitors annually. She has been honored as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, has been named among Pittsburgh's Top 50 Cultural Power Brokers and has received the Harry Schwalb Excellence in the Arts award for visual arts. Luderowski studied at the Art Students League of New York, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon. Her sculpture has been shown throughout the United States.

James H. Simons, Doctor of Business Practice
SmithMost of Simons' professional accomplishments and many of his philanthropic initiatives revolve around mathematics. He is chairman of the board of Renaissance Technologies, the exclusively quantitative, highly successful investment firm he founded in 1982, and served as CEO until 2009. He is also chairman and founder of the nonprofit Math for America, which he, together with a group of others in the financial industry, established in 2004 to improve math education in the nation's public high schools. Simons' scientific research was in the area of geometry and topology, and included the discovery and application of geometric measurements called the Chern-Simons invariants, which have wide use, particularly in theoretical physics. He earned his bachelor's degree from MIT and doctoral degree from the University of California at Berkeley, both in mathematics. In 1975, the American Mathematical Society honored Simons with the Veblen Prize in Geometry. With his wife, Marilyn, he manages the Simons Foundation, which is primarily devoted to the support of scientific research. The Simons have also founded a countrywide health care training program in Nepal.


Pictured from top is Ian G. Rawson, Gordon Bell, Robert H. Dennard, Barbara Luderowski and James H. Simons.