Carnegie Mellon University
December 23, 2020

Year in Review 2020

As challenges test the world's resolve, the Carnegie Mellon University community has stayed committed to its core mission: a transformative impact on society. In 2020, Tartans overcame unexpected obstacles to do work that matters. They came together while staying apart and remained hopeful that through continued research, creativity and entrepreneurship, the problems society now faces will one day be confined to the pages of history. Here's a quick glance at some of this year's top stories, in no particular order, some of which includes artwork taken pre-pandemic.

Tartans have been all in, everywhere — for the health of themselves and their community.

CMU Responds to COVID-19

The CMU community has responded to the pandemic through innovative approaches to education, impactful research and service — all of which with work that matters.

Carnegie Mellon Unveils Five Interactive COVID-19 Maps

The maps provide real-time information on symptoms, doctor visits, medical tests and more allowing county-level data to be used to forecast disease activity.

CMU Alumni Surprise Class of 2020 During Historic Conferral Ceremony

Thirteen acclaimed alumni surprised graduating Tartans during CMU's first-ever virtual conferral of degrees ceremony.

Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou Named Tepper School Dean

Throughout her career, she has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the areas that are defining the future of business schools.

Shawn BlantonBlanton Brings Passion for Diversity to University Level

The interim vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion emphasizes importance of recruiting.

CMU Completes Voluntary Review of Sustainable Development Goals

The report is a first of its kind by any university.

CMU Has Network Advantage in Fight Against COVID-19

Bennett Huffman and Dean Dijour hope the NOVID app they helped Po-Shen Loh create influences how diseases are monitored and prevented in the future. 

2020-endowment-figure-900x600-min.jpgCarnegie Mellon Endowment Reaches $2.07 Billion

The endowment reached a new milestone by supporting more than 7 percent of the university's operating budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

how-we-vote-2000x1000-min.jpgAn Interdisciplinary Look at American Elections

In "How We Vote," a Grand Challenge Seminar for first-year students, three faculty members brought a multidisciplinary perspective to a remote examination of the process of voting in American democracy. 

Doubling Down on Tartan Scholars

As part of efforts to confront racism and promote equity, Tartan Scholars is supporting 100 first-year students and has expanded programming for the initial cohort during their second year at CMU.

Signature Courses Lead the Way

Preparations made to go remote this fall that used CMU's learning engineering approach are an investment in the future.

Alumni Awards Celebrates CMU's Biggest Stars

In a virtual event, 11 members of the CMU community were honored for their impact on their industries, communities, alma mater and others’ lives around the world.

Carnegie Mellon Tool Automatically Turns Math Into Pictures

Anyone can now translate the abstractions of mathematics into beautiful and instructive illustrations.

Whitney Museum Adds Student's Work to Permanent Collection

Art Senior Steven Montinar drew on his Haitian American background for "Koupe Tet, Boule Kay."

CMU Attends Gathering of Thought Leaders

President Farnam Jahanian, right, and researchers such as Henny Admoni, center, share innovations that advance the future of work, tech for good, and the field of robotics with government leaders and entrepreneurs at the World Economic Forum.

CMU Names Seven University Professors

The distinction recognizes faculty members for contributions to education, artistic creativity and research. It is the highest rank a CMU faculty member can achieve.

Misinformation About COVID-19 Can Take Many Forms

A team of researchers led by Kathleen M. Carley is studying how disinformation spreads through online channels and how to counter its effects.

inclusive-teaching-fellow-sherwood-1920x1280-min.jpgProgram Aims To Enhance Inclusive Teaching

Provost's Inclusive Teaching Fellows explore ways to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in CMU's course offerings.

New Technique Isolates Brain Cells Associated With Parkinson's Disease

A CMU-developed approach targets certain neurons, which enables researchers to efficiently isolate these cell types for further study.

412 Food Rescue CEO Named Global Leader

Since 2015, Leah Lizarondo's organization has used technology to recover and distribute more than 10 million pounds of food.

cmu-remote-instruction-begins-2000x1000-min.jpgStudents Log On for First Days of Remote Instruction at CMU

When the pandemic began, faculty and students moved quickly to remote instruction. Here's a look back at the first days in March.

oliver-elected-to-ampas-900x600-min.jpgCMU Alumnus Tommy Oliver Works for Change

Tommy Oliver's personal and professional life are hitting high notes right now, but he is not one to stand on the sidelines and rest on past accomplishments.

intersect-900x600.jpgINTERSECT@CMU Shares COVID-19 Lessons for Future Action

The conference brought together the CMU community with industry leaders and innovators for its 2020 virtual gathering.

Women standing in a corridor
The Future of AI is Female

At CMU, women are thriving in the field of artificial intellgence. Researchers from all seven colleges are working to solve problems in areas from healthcare to education and forge new frontiers.

Stitching Together Help for Essential Staff

Angela Ng, a CMU alumna and program director for Student Engagement at Carnegie Mellon in Qatar, has helped to make more than 400 cloth face masks for essential staff at CMU.

CREATE Lab Project Helps Renters Avoid Evictions

The initiative, which started this spring, has researchers working with local organizations and volunteers to educate tenants about their rights.

Homecoming 2020 Highlights

Tartans around the world came together for critical conversations, tours, cooking demos and talent competitions. Explore the interactive activities from the weekend.

John Mackey and Marijn Huele
Scientists Solve 90-Year-Old Geometry Problem

John Mackey, left, and Marijn Heule have pursued a math puzzle known as Keller's conjecture for decades. They found a solution by translating it into a satisfiability problem.

Open Access Agreement

CMU has reached several open access agreements recently including one with the Public Library of Science. 

Tepper Atrium
CMU Prepares To Return To Campus

A plethora of protocols were put in place before faculty, staff and students returned this fall.

Duolingo Translates Success Via Language Learning

The CMU spinoff, which makes the process of acquiring one or more new languages accessible and fun, has been valued at more than $1 billion.

golf-jason-li-900x600.jpgLi Named Finalist for Jack Nicklaus Award

In just three years, he shattered most of CMU's records for men's golf, which along with the women's team, is ranked at the top of Division III.

Across the Cut: Minecraft

Missing campus? So was Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering student Jared Cohen. He and friends used some of their quarantine time to recreate the CMU campus in Minecraft ... block by block.

Alumni Win at 62nd Grammy Awards

Four Tartans, including Dan Smyers, left, took home awards from the 62nd annual Grammy Awards.

Community App Aims to Keep CMU Students Connected at a Distance

CMU students has turned an idea for a class project into an app to help their peers navigate the remote university experience.

CMU's MoonRanger Will Search for Water at Moon's South Pole

The small, speedy rover completed its preliminary design review in advance of a 2022 mission to search for lunar ice.

Marsha LovettLovett Leads CMU’s Unprecedented Move to Remote Education

In a matter of days, CMU transitioned 4,923 course-sections to remote instruction. Leading the quickly developing university-wide effort was Marsha Lovett.


carnival21-webheader-900x600.pngSpring Carnival and Reunion Weekend Goes Virtual

Buggy and booth designing was part of the online activities offered at this year's celebration.