The Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award

2021 Distinguished Alumni

On July 19, 2021, Caltech announced the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

Congratulations to the 2021 Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award recipients Bob Behnken (MS ’93, PhD ’97), Barbara Burger (PhD ’87), Charles Elachi (MS ’69, PhD ’71), and Laurie Leshin (MS ’89, PhD ’95).

The DAA is the highest honor the Institute bestows upon its graduates and recognizes a select number of alumni for "a particular achievement of noteworthy value, a series of such achievements, or a career of noteworthy accomplishment." Since the award’s inception in 1966, 270 Caltech alumni have received the honor for their work in science, engineering, business, and the arts.

This year, our four recipients will present a virtual lecture discussing his or her accomplishments – dates to be announced.

For more information please visit: https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/caltech-names-its-2021-distinguished-alumni-award-recipients

Charles T. Munger
Certificate
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44
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Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited
Vice Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

For his accomplished career as an investor, businessman, and as an attorney. He is director and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation, a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation, and former chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation.

Daniel D. O’Dowd
BS
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76
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Engineering & Applied Science
Founder and CEO, Green Hills Software, Inc.

For his entrepreneurial leadership and transformative contributions to the development and commercialization of fail-safe embedded safety and security software for high-risk, high-value applications including commercial and military avionics, self-driving cars, and remotely controlled medical equipment.

Ian Agol
BS
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92
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Mathematics
Simons Chair and Professor of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley

For his significant contributions to low dimensional topology and geometric group theory, such as proving the virtual Haken conjecture, Marden’s Tameness conjecture, and other theorems that provide an understanding of the coverings of three-dimensional manifolds.

Fei-Fei Li
MS
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02
PhD
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05
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05
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Electrical Engineering
Sequoia Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University
Denning Co-Director, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence

For her leadership in the fields of computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, as well as her advocacy for diversity and inclusion in AI and STEM fields. Li’s interdisciplinary influence connecting neuroscience and machine learning has made her a leading voice in applications of AI to improve healthcare.

About the Award

The Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor the Institute bestows upon a graduate, and is given in recognition of "a particular achievement of noteworthy value, a series of such achievements, or a career of noteworthy accomplishment."

Living alumni who have attained any degree (BS, MS, Engineer's, or PhD) at Caltech may be considered eligible for this award. Graduates who currently are on the faculty or staff of Caltech are not eligible, with the exception of those who have achieved the rank of Emeritus/a Professor.

Members of the Institute’s Board of Trustees are not eligible until they have achieved the rank of Life Trustee. Selections are made by the President of Caltech based on recommendations from a committee comprising faculty, staff, and alumni; the President’s recommendations are confirmed by the Board of Trustees.

Since the award's inception in 1966, Caltech has recognized a total of 270 alumni as standouts in science, engineering, business and the arts.

Submit a Nomination

The nomination cycle for the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award is now closed. Thank you to all who submitted nominations!

Recipients will be announced in Summer 2021.

Recent Distinguished Alumni