Diane Strong's Remarks at 2007 Women to Watch Awards

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Diane Strong's Remarks at 2007 Women to Watch Awards Ceremony

I want to start by offering my congratulations to the women being honored here tonight. This event honors your hard work and many accomplishments as leaders in the world of high technology. Congratulations to each of you!

WPI is pleased to be a platinum sponsor of this year’s Women to Watch event. As a professor at WPI, I know the value and importance of honoring excellence, and those who achieve excellence. It is through events and awards such as this one that we acknowledge and honor those whose accomplishments we value. 

Many things have changed at WPI since its founding in 1865. Our graduates now include many women, who are attracted to WPI not only for its excellence in technological subjects, but also for its excellence in business, entrepreneurship, social science, and the humanities and arts. WPI now offers 50 different degree programs through which students combine their interests in high technology with their interests in providing a cleaner environment or in starting a business. It is this intersection of technology with business and human values that distinguishes WPI graduates. 

My interests and history mirror those of WPI. When I earned my undergraduate degree in computer science back in the 1970s, only two other women earned a computer science degree at my university that year. Now, as I teach information technology and business applications in WPI’s business school, many of my faculty colleagues and my students are women. WPI understands the value of creating a diverse community of scholars for addressing the technological challenges of our current world. 

I am especially proud of WPI’s business school. It offers degree programs at the intersection of business and technology, including a technology MBA. These programs are offered in a welcoming and diverse environment that provides students with the competitive edge they need to be creative, innovative, and successful. This environment is recognized by others.  For example, our MBA program was ranked No. 3 by the Princeton Review for Greatest Opportunities for Women. WPI’s Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation was ranked among the top 10 programs by Entrepreneur.com. 

One of tonight’s Women to Watch award recipients, Karen Tegan Padir, exemplifies the women who choose to come to WPI—strong, dedicated, hard-working, and ambitious young women. Karen earned her BS in computer science from WPI, and a few years later completed her MBA at WPI. WPI is very proud of her accomplishments and the role we may have played in providing a foundation for her to achieve the excellence for which she is being honored tonight. 

WPI has a genuine interest in supporting and encouraging women. We start by providing summer programs for junior high school women to develop their interests in technological subjects. We continue by actively recruiting undergraduate women and providing an environment in which they can excel. The result has been a steady increase in the number of women on campus over the last 10 years.  We follow this with career assistance, graduate programs of value to women, and special events such as the Management Women’s Summit and our sponsorship of tonight’s event. Through all of these programs, WPI takes seriously its role in society of broadening the pool of talented individuals pursing technological careers and leading and managing technology-based organizations. In the current world, it is critical that we develop all of our available talent to the best of their abilities. 

WPI is proud to sponsor this year’s Women to Watch event, and is especially proud that one of its graduates, Karen Tegan Padir, is among those being honored tonight. But the work of each woman honored here tonight gives us hope for a more promising future for us all. Their accomplishments have opened much greater opportunities for those now in high school. I will end by encouraging all young women in the audience to pursue these opportunities. We need your ideas, your perspectives on problems, and your talents for addressing the current and future challenges of our world, and for making it a better place for us all.

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