The Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award

2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2021 Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

Join Caltech’s 2021 Distinguished Alumni recipients In Conversation (on Zoom) with Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum and Sandra Tsing Loh, MS (BS ’83), 2001 DAA recipient.

Register now to find out about the professional achievements, personal challenges, and triumphs of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni.

In Conversation with Barbara Burger (PhD ’87)

Join Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum and 2021 Distinguished Alumna Barbara Burger (PhD ’87), who will be in conversation via Zoom with Sandra Tsing Loh (BS ’83). Burger is Chevron’s Vice President of Innovation and President of Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV). Burger joined Chevron in 1987 as a research chemist and has held management positions across international marketing, chemicals, technology marketing, and lubricants. Her civic and industry affiliations include leadership positions with Houston Exponential and the Houston Symphony Society. She serves on the leadership counsel for Activate Global, the external advisory council for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the University of Rochester’s Board of Trustees. At Caltech, Burger supports graduate women in chemistry, and she serves on the Strategic Advisory Board for the Resnick Sustainability Institute.

In Conversation with Laurie Leshin (MS ’89, PhD ’95)

Join 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Dr. Laurie Leshin (MS '89, PhD '95) in conversation with fellow DAA recipient Sandra Tsing Loh (BS ’83). President Thomas F. Rosenbaum will give opening remarks. President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Laurie Leshin (MS '89, PhD '95), is lauded "for her barrier-breaking leadership at universities such as Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which has been recognized for both teaching and research excellence and essential strides in diversity, equity, and inclusion under her guidance as the first woman to serve as president; and for her accomplishments as a distinguished geochemist and space scientist."

In Conversation with Charles Elachi (MS ’69, PhD ’71)

Join 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Dr. Charles Elachi (MS ’69, PhD ’71) in conversation with president Thomas F. Rosenbaum. Caltech professor emeritus of electrical engineering and planetary science, Charles Elachi (MS '69, PhD '71), is recognized "for his distinguished leadership in space exploration and planetary science as the longtime director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was instrumental to realizing missions across the solar system including our own planet Earth, and for his many contributions helping to map out NASA's long-term scientific future

Find out more about the 2021 DAA recipients at Caltech News.

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.

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.

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.

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

Do you know of a graduate worthy of recognition for a particular achievement, a series of such achievements, or a career of noteworthy accomplishment?

Please take a moment to tell us about them by submitting a nomination for the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards here https://caltechalumni.awardsplatform.com/

Deadline to submit nominations is Sunday, January 23, 2022.

Recent Distinguished Alumni