I Give

2005-2006

Curtis Carlson, Innovator and Business Leader, is 2006 Commencement Speaker at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/April 20, 2006
Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5609

Curtis Carlson WORCESTER, Mass. - April 20, 2006 - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announced today that Curtis R. Carlson, president and CEO of SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif., and a 1967 WPI graduate, has been selected as the speaker for the university's 138th Commencement exercises on May 20. WPI will also confer upon Carlson an honorary doctorate in science.

An innovator and business leader, Carlson is president and CEO of SRI, an independent, nonprofit global research institute, often referred to as "the soul of the Silicon Valley" for developing such world-changing innovations as the computer mouse, the cell phone, electronic banking, and high-definition television. He spent the first 20 years of his career with RCA Laboratories, which in 1997 became Sarnoff Corporation, an SRI subsidiary. As head of ventures and licensing, he helped found more than a dozen new companies. He was named president and CEO of SRI in 1998.

He has published or presented more than 50 technical publications and holds fundamental patents in the fields of image quality, image coding, and computer vision. His book Innovation: The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want, which describes SRI's unique process for innovation, will be published by Crown Publishing Group in June.

"We are greatly honored to have Curt Carlson address WPI's Class of 2006 - future innovators and leaders for our society," said WPI president and CEO Dennis D. Berkey. "Curt is a true symbol of what WPI's graduates can accomplish. He has a relentless passion for innovation and for creating customer value in ways that have significant impact on the world."

Throughout his career, Carlson has been recognized as an innovator and technology leader. A member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Carlson has led teams that have received two Emmy Awards: in 1997, for initiating the high-definition television (HDTV) program at Sarnoff that became the U.S. standard; and in 2000, for a system to measure broadcast image quality. He also received the Otto Schade Award from the Society for Information Display (SID) for his contributions to the imaging sciences.

He has also been an active alumnus at WPI. He helped establish the WPI Silicon Valley Project Center in 1999, enabling WPI students to work on team consulting projects for companies in Silicon Valley. He has been a member of the WPI Board of Trustees since 2002. The university has honored him with its Robert H. Goddard Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement and the WPI Presidential Medal.

Born in Cranston, R.I., Carlson was drawn to music at an early age, encouraged by his grandfather, a professional musician. Following in his grandfather's footsteps, he became a professional violinist at 15, performing with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. His career plans changed, however, after attending a WPI summer program for high school juniors interested in science and technology. Violin remains his primary avocation today, and he plays regularly with a string quartet.

He received a BS in physics from WPI in 1967 and earned a PhD in geophysical fluid dynamics at Rutgers University in 1973. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Sigma Xi, and Tau Beta Pi.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI was one of the first engineering and technology universities in the nation. WPI's 18 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, management, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to the BS, MS, ME, MBA and PhD. WPI's world-class faculty work with students in a number of cutting-edge research areas, leading to breakthroughs and innovations in such fields as biotechnology, fuel cells, nanotechnology, and information security. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through our innovative Global Perspectives program. There are over 20 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.