Apr

14

Your GS Class Day Speaker Is Thomas Reardon, GS ’08

Written by

See you in May.

An email today from Dean Peter Awn (DeAwn?) announced that the 2012 GS Class Day speaker will be Thomas Reardon, GS ’08. Reardon was the architect behind Internet Explorer, a founding board member of the World Wide Web Consortium (which we at Bwog vaguely know about from a brief stint in 1004), and did lots of other cool computer-y things before attending GS.

Awn’s email also names Maxwell Bertolero and Aliza Kathryn Minogue-Nachison as this year’s GS valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Dear Graduating Seniors,

I am very much looking forward to celebrating your graduation from the School of General Studies of Columbia University at the GS Class Day ceremony and reception on Monday, May 14 at 9 a.m., and again at the University’s 258th Commencement on Wednesday, May 16 at 10:30 a.m.

Class Day is a special event that celebrates you and your fellow graduates. At Class Day each one of you will be presented by name to the president or provost of Columbia, assembled faculty, and guests.

I am honored to announce that Thomas Reardon, a 2008 graduate of GS, is the 2012 Class Day keynote speaker. Born in New Hampshire into a working class, Irish-Catholic family, Reardon is one of 18 children. A math and computer prodigy, Reardon was taking graduate level courses at MIT before he graduated from high school. After high school he moved to North Carolina and began his first software startup, and ultimately, a chance meeting with Bill Gates led to a nine-year tenure with Microsoft. At 24-years old, while working on Windows 95, Reardon conceptualized the idea for Microsoft Internet Explorer, creating the project and acting as architect through its world-wide adoption in the late 1990s. He is hailed as a principle visionary of the corporation’s involvement in the internet and web technologies and its move from proprietary technologies toward open standards.

As a founding board member and technical advisor to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), he was instrumental in the development and implementation of languages HTML4, CSS, and XML, and more recently worked with Openwave in Redwood City, CA where he led development of the first mobile-device web browsers. Reardon holds six U.S. patents.

It was after an impromptu lunch with the physicist Freeman Dyson that Reardon decided to return to school to study classical languages and literature, and in 2008 he earned his bachelor’s degree, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, from GS. In 2010 he completed a master’s degree in neuroscience from Duke University. Currently, Reardon is working with the renowned scientist Tom Jessell while pursuing a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Columbia University.

This year’s Valedictorian is Maxwell Bertolero. A native of northern California, Maxwell raced motocross before attending Orange Coast College in 2007. He enrolled at GS in the fall of 2008. While at Columbia, Maxwell majored in philosophy and psychology. He obtained honors and summa cum laude in both majors. Since graduating in February 2012, Maxwell has been working in Daphna Shohamy’s cognitive neuroscience lab at Columbia. He will be attending UC Berkeley starting in the fall working towards a Ph.D. in cognition, brain, and behavior through the Psychology Department. He plans to be a professor and conduct cognitive neuroscience research. While doing basic research is his main interest, he also wants to raise public awareness and knowledge of the inextricable link between the mind and the brain.

Aliza Kathryn Minogue-Nachison is the 2012 Salutatorian. Before enrolling at GS in the fall of 2008, Kathryn studied acting and worked in theater, film, and television. Since 2001, she has also been involved in the New York City Bluegrass music scene, organizing and playing shows with the band Sheriff Uncle Bob. As a member of Walking the Dog Theater company, Kathryn composed and performed music for their various productions. On independent films, big-budget blockbusters, and shows such as Law & Order, she worked as a stand-in, photo double, production assistant, and actor. Seeking a change, she applied to Columbia. As a student at GS, Kathryn fell in love with the study of classical art and architecture, and now looks forward to enrolling in Columbia’s Classical Studies Ph.D. program this fall.

Our three featured speakers are bound to make our Class Day celebration a dynamic and memorable event.

For more on graduation activities and ceremonies, as well as a graduation checklist, please see the Graduation section of the GS website (http://www.gs.columbia.edu/graduation), a comprehensive source of information for questions about academic regalia, forwarding email from your Columbia account after graduation, guest lodging, and many other topics.

Congratulations once again, and I look forward to celebrating this great accomplishment with you in May.

Sincerely,

Professor Peter J. Awn

Dean

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16 Comments

  1. Shit  

    another damn failure. Guy who invented the worst web browser ever...Obama even has done better

    • You realize

      it had 95% of the market at one time. For a while, it was the ONLY web browser in any practical sense. You could do much worse.

      • Anonymous

        Have you ever heard about the Microsoft/Netscape antitrust case o the 90′s? That one where Microsoft bundled IE on all its machines and effectively made it impossible to install any competing browser? During much of IE’s heyday, most users did not know how to change their browser, let alone realize that there were any alternatives to IE. But if the majority of users knew that there were alternatives, and if they were savvy enough to change their browser, they probably would have because at any given point of time during the history or the Internet, IE has most decidedly not been the superior browser.

    • Anonymous  

      Anyone on the W3C deserves your respect; they're (essentially) responsible for the Internet (not to mention that working on a standards committee is one of the most thankless, difficult and important jobs in tech). Also, IE was a fantastic browser at its initial release. All of the hate for it comes from the fact that it stagnated years after its creation during a time when the Internet was becoming much more complex and rich than it had ever been before, and IE wasn't keeping to the standards. We should be honored to have someone who has been instrumental in creating one of the backbones of modern society addressing us. I only wish he was addressing SEAS. (:

  2. Anonymous

    WOW Congrats to these AWESOME individuals. I can only hope to accomplish half as much as the first guy by the time I am 35.

  3. Anonymous  

    does anyone else think it kind of defeats the purpose of a graduation speaker because he did all of that shit *before* he came here?

    • You're right

      And Steve Jobs didn't exist until he spoke at Stanford in 2005, since he did all of his "shit" before he went there. Oh wait, he didn't graduate from any college anywhere.

  4. Anonymous

    Have you ever heard about the Microsoft/Netscape antitrust case o the 90's? That one where Microsoft bundled IE on all its machines and effectively made it impossible to install any competing browser? During much of IE's heyday, most users did not know how to change their browser, let alone realize that there were any alternatives to IE. But if the majority of users knew that there were alternatives, and if they were savvy enough to change their browser, they probably would have because at any given point of time during the history or the Internet, IE has most decidedly not been the superior browser.

  5. Anonymous

    YEA-- MAXWELL BERTOLERO!

  6. Anonymous

    I hear that maxwell kid is huge.

  7. Anonymous

    WOW Reardon is my TA for Neurobio this semester.. he didn't mention any of this. I would much rather have him speak than "Rick"

  8. Anonymous

    Anyone else think he looks like Pat Cassels from CollegeHumor?

  9. GS '11

    What a fantastic speaker!! Could not be anymore proud of being an alum...

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