Stanford legend earns ‘Fame’ from alma mater SBU

Brush with fame: Stanford University President Emeritus and Stony Brook University graduate John Hennessy has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of SBU's Coillege of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A global computer-science legend has received top honors from the Long Island college where he earned his highest academic degrees.

Stanford University President Emeritus John Hennessy was inducted Thursday into the Stony Brook University College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Hall of Fame. Hennessy, a longtime professor of electrical engineering and computer science, earned his master of science degree (computer science, 1975) and his PhD (1977) from the SBU engineering college.

The Long Island native has served in major academic leadership roles at Stanford University since the early 1990s. He chaired Stanford’s Department of Computer Science for three years, before being named dean of the Silicon Vallley university’s School of Engineering in 1996.

In 1999, he succeeded future Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as Stanford provost. After serving just over a year as the university’s chief academic and financial officer, Hennessy was inaugurated as Stanford University’s 10th president in October 2000, an office he would hold until he stepped down in 2016.

In addition to his academic accolades, Hennessy has also made a mark as a successful entrepreneur. The computer-science giant was a cofounder of California-based MIPS Computer Systems (now MIPS Technologies) and wired and wireless connectivity expert Atheros Communications, which was acquired in 2011 by Qualcomm.

Fotis Sotiropoulos: Students, educators, innovators all impacted by Hennessy.

He also is cofounder and director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, which maintains a multidisciplinary community of Stanford University graduate students dedicated to finding creative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Knight-Hennessy, billed as the world’s largest fully endowed scholarship program, annually offers up to 100 high-achieving students from around the globe a golden opportunity to pursue tuition-free graduate studies at Stanford.

A 2017 winner of the Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize of computing, Hennessy has compiled a curriculum vitae that more than qualifies him for the SBU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ highest recognition, according to Fotis Sotiropoulos, dean of the SBU college.

“John Hennessy’s pursuit of excellence in higher education, and his passion for the advancement of technology, will impact generations of innovators and educators,” Sotiropoulos said this week. “With this honor, we thank him for his immeasurable contributions that inspire our students and help build the narrative that they can inherit, be challenged by, and ultimately benchmark as a measure of their own success.”

Hennessy was slated to return to SBU Friday to address students, faculty and staff as the inaugural speaker in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Lecture Series. Coming full circle, the former student was expected to deliver a lecture titled, “From Stony Brook to Stanford and Silicon Valley: Stories from a 45-year Journey.”


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