Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will address Virginia Tech’s Class of 2015 during University Commencement exercises on May 15 at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field.
The University Commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. More than 5,000 graduates and their families and friends are expected to attend the event.
“Eric Schmidt is an icon whose innovative thinking and entrepreneurial business strategy transformed the way we obtain information,” noted Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands. “We are delighted to again welcome him home to Blacksburg. His remarkable career and the perspective he brings will surely inspire our students as they begin their next phase of their lives.”
Schmidt joined Google in 2001 and helped grow it from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. As the company’s executive chairman, he is responsible for external matters such as building partnerships and broader business relationships, government outreach, and technology thought leadership, as well as advising the CEO and senior leadership on business and policy issues.
He served as Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, during which time the company dramatically scaled up its infrastructure and diversified its product offerings while maintaining a strong culture of innovation.
Schmidt has a longstanding connection to Virginia Tech and Blacksburg. His father was the head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Economics, and his family and that of former university President Paul Torgersen were friends and neighbors.
In 2006, Schmidt donated $2 million to Virginia Tech to endow the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean’s Chair in Engineering. In 1999, while serving as chairman and CEO of Novell Inc., he delivered Virginia Tech’s spring University Commencement address.
Before heading Novell Inc., Schmidt was chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems Inc. Previously, he served on the research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Bell Laboratories, and Zilog.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University as well as a master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Schmidt is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council in the United Kingdom. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a Fellow. He chairs the board of the New America Foundation and since 2008 has been a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Schmidt also serves on Khan Academy’s board of directors and on the board of The Economist.
In 2013, he and Jared Cohen co-authored The New York Times bestselling book, “The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives.” In September 2014, he published his second New York Times best seller, “How Google Works,” which he and Jonathan Rosenberg co-authored with Alan Eagle.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.