SEAS Celebrates Class of 2015, Honors Innovators Elon Musk and Dean Kamen

Members of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science community celebrated the awarding of 155 Engineering degrees on May 18, 2015. Yale College students earned 155 Baccalaureate degrees; graduate students earned 37 degrees, including 29 PhDs and 8 terminal master's degrees.

Bachelor's degrees in Biomedical Engineering were conferred upon 37 members of the class of 2015; in Chemical Engineering, 12 degrees; in Computer Science, 59 degrees; in Electrical Engineering, 14 degrees; in Environmental Engineering, 15 degrees; and in Mechanical Engineering, 18 degrees.

At Yale's 314th Commencement Ceremony, two of the world's leading innovators received Honorary Doctorates in Engineering and Technology. Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur, engineer, and inventor was the first to receive the Honorary Doctorate in Engineering & Technology. Yale President Peter Salovey cited Musk, the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity, for his imagination and innovation:

Through your energy and ingenuity you are changing the way we live our lives. You created PayPal and revolutionized everyday financial transactions. Similarly, you are reenvisioning transportation on Earth with Tesla Motors and HyperLoop and beyond with SpaceX and commercial space flight. You are helping to transform energy production, delivery, and consumption through solar technology. Your generosity through the giving pledge is inspiring. You have the rare gift of imagining the impossible and making it happen. For your entrepreneurial spirit and your creative genius, we bestow on you the degree of Doctor of Engineering and Technology.

Dean Kamen, one of America's most prominent inventors, is the President of DEKA, a privately owned research and development company, and the Founder of FIRST, an organization dedicated to inspiring the next generation to pursue education and careers in engineering and science. Kamen was cited by President Salovey for his work improving humanity:

You are an inventor, an innovator, an entrepreneur, and an advocate for science and engineering. Your work has focused on harnessing technology to improve the quality of life with such creations as a wearable infusion pump, a portable dialysis machine, an advanced prosthetic arm, an easily transported water purification device, and a plan to bring affordable, clean water and energy to developing nations. Through your foundation, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), you are inventing inventors, sharing your energy and excitement with over 400,000 students to develop tomorrow's science and technology leaders. You are a visionary and we are pleased to bestow on you the Doctor of Engineering and Technology.

Later in the day, at the departmental convocations, the prestigious Henry Prentiss Becton Prize for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science was presented to Aunica Steele. Steele graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, having earned a 4.0 GPA and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi where she served as co-president. Steele also headed the Electrical Engineering Student Advisory Committee and served as an outstanding ambassador for the School of Engineering & Applied Science. Beyond engineering, she has been an active member of the Yale Debate Association where she won a number of tournaments and helped coordinate debating events at Yale.

Roman Kuc, Professor of Electrical Engineering and the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies, praised her "intellectual pursuit, thoroughness of her work, and ability to communicate." He added, "Aunica's performance in courses has been stellar, and I have often used her work as illustrations of best practices in the class."

Upon graduation, Steele will begin her career as a hardware engineer at Microsoft.

Twelve other undergraduate prizes were also announced:

Kevin Cong Zhou
Recipient of the D. Allan Bromley Prize in Biomedical Engineering

Clinton Jia Wang
Recipient of the Department of Biomedical Engineering Prize

Rahul Sandhir Kini
Recipient of the Charles A. Walker Prize in Chemical Engineering

Lea Winter
Recipient of the Harry A. Curtis Prize in Chemical Engineering

Michael Garrett Hopkins
Recipient of the Computer Science Prize

Thomas Weng
Recipient of the Computer Science Undergraduate Research Prize

Kayo Teramoto
Recipient of the Edward O. Lanphier Memorial Prize in Electrical Engineering

Laura Meredith Brink
Recipient of the Franz Tuteur Memorial Prize in Electrical Engineering

Sophie Elizabeth Mary Janaskie
Recipient of the D. Allan Bromley Prize in Environmental Engineering

Eleanor Cooley Killiam
Recipient of the Environmental Engineering Prize

Hope Carolyn Wilson
Recipient of the L. C. Lichty & E. O. Waters Prize in Mechanical Engineering

Paul Carmine Napolitano
Recipient of the Donald Warren McCrosky Memorial Prize in Mechanical Engineering

Congratulations to all!