Top Interview


Dr. Maria Klawe
This is the final interview in a four-part interview series where we explored Maria's considerable history from her early years and into her professional life of notable distinction, significant outstanding contributions in a number of fields including societal causes. In future interviews, we will continue to follow Maria's outstanding work impacting business, industry, governments, education, and society.

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Harvey Mudd College is led by Maria Klawe, HMC's fifth president who began her tenure in 2006. A renowned computer scientist and scholar, President Klawe is the first woman to lead the college since its founding in 1955. Prior to joining HMC, she served as Dean of Engineering and Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. During her time at Princeton, Maria led the School of Engineering and Applied Science through a strategic planning exercise that created an exciting and widely embraced vision for the school. At Harvey Mudd College, she led a similarly ambitious strategic planning initiative, "HMC 2020: Envisioning the Future."

Maria joined Princeton from the University of British Columbia where she served as Dean of Science from 1998 to 2002, Vice President of Student and Academic Services from 1995 to 1998 and head of the Department of Computer Science from 1988 to 1995. Prior to UBC, Maria spent eight years with IBM Research in California, and two years at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. (1977) and B.Sc. (1973) in Mathematics from the University of Alberta.

Maria has made significant research contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science including functional analysis, discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, human-computer interaction, gender issues in information technology, and interactive-multimedia for mathematics education. Her current research focuses on discrete mathematics.

Maria is a past President of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) in New York, past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology in Palo Alto, and a past trustee of the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics in Los Angeles. Maria has held leadership positions with the American Mathematical Society, the Computing Research Association, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Canadian Mathematical Society.

Maria is one of the 10 members of the board of Microsoft Corporation, a board member of Broadcom Corporation and the nonprofit Math for America, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a trustee for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, and a member of both the Stanford Engineering Advisory Council and the Advisory Council for the Computer Science Teachers Association. She was elected as a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery in 1996 and as a founding fellow of the Canadian Information Processing Society in 2006. Other awards include Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Science and Technology (1997), Wired Woman Pioneer (2001), Canadian New Media Educator of the Year (2001), BC Science Council Champion of the Year (2001), University of Alberta Distinguished Alumna (2003), Nico Habermann Award (2004), and honorary doctorates from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2011), the University of British Columbia (2010), Mount Saint Vincent University (2009), Acadia University (2006), Dalhousie University (2005), Queen's University (2004), the University of Waterloo (2003) and Ryerson University (2001).
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