America’s CTO Addresses MIT Graduates

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on June 5, 2015 · 0 comments

in Alumni Life, Campus Culture, In the News

Megan Smith talked about MIT's heart at Commencement 2015.

Megan Smith, US Chief Technology Officer, talked about MIT’s heart at Commencement 2015.

Megan Smith ’86, SM ’88 goes to work every day aiming to bring the benefits of technological innovation to the entire country. A large task, yes, but as Chief Technology Officer of the United States and an assistant to President Barack Obama, she’s got some clout. And her MIT connections are close at hand as well. She works alongside John Holdren ’65, SM ’66, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, who, by the way, addressed his class during Tech Reunions 2010.

Smith was the Commencement speaker for today’s MIT graduation:

While Smith cited MIT’s hands-on learning opportunities, she focused on matters of the heart. “The first thing about heart is the importance of teams,”she told the graduating students. And then, “Kindness is as important as knowledge.” Third, she cited the value of diversity, inclusiveness, and openness. “Talent is everywhere, but not all talent has access…and the fourth thing is service. My hope for you is that you bring your technical service to things you love.”

Want to know more? An extended Commencement video starts with campus commentary and Smith is introduced at 02:50:00.

In President L. Rafael Reif’s charge to the class, he described MIT’s worldview.

“It’s the worldview of an Institute that, between 1944 and 2013, won 80 football games and earned 80 Nobel prizes. And at MIT, we think that’s about the right balance….. The MIT worldview combines a profound humility with the confidence that no problem is too big, with the right people on the job—whether you aim to launch a game-changing company, or cure Alzheimer’s, or educate a billion people, or invent a way to provide fresh water for the world.” Read more in the charge to the class.

Smith’s MIT connections are deep. As a mechanical engineering student, she was engaged in campus life participating in MISTI-Japan, Solar Electric Vehicle Team, UROP and in sports including ice hockey, sailing, waterpolo, and rowing. She has served two stints on the MIT Corporation,  joining visiting committees for the departments of athletics, the Media Lab, and mechanical and chemical engineering. She is also an MIT Technology Review board member.

Students Interview Smith

Find out how the Internet changed MIT, in a virtual interview with Samir Luther MBA ’15 and Priya Garg ’15.

Some 3,300+ alumni and guests are arriving on campus for Tech Reunions this weekend. Photo: Dominick Reuter

Some 3,300+ alumni and guests are arriving on campus for Tech Reunions this weekend. Photo: Dominick Reuter

Watch the Tech Day Webcast on Saturday

On Tech Day 2015, Saturday, faculty will address “Private Lives in an Interconnected World,” including issues in nanophotonics and cybersecurity as well as urban, global, and cloud security. Speakers include Tom Leighton PhD ’81, professor of mathematics and founder of Akamai and Daniel Weitzner, principal research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and director of the MIT Cybersecurity Policy Initiative. You can watch the live webcast, from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Get an update on the 3,300+ alumni and guests arriving for Tech Reunions, June 4-7.

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