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Informatics honors outstanding alumni at inaugural awards banquet

April 3, 2009

The Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing hosted its inaugural Alumni Awards Banquet on April 2 at the Woodstock Country Club in Indianapolis. The School presented three awards to five recipients for their outstanding service and dedication to the School: the Career Achievement Award (two recipients), the Young Alumni Award, and the Distinguished Service Award (two recipients). For each award, the School requested nominations from Faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the school.

Career Achievement Award

The Career Achievement Award is given to an alumna(us) in recognition of outstanding contributions and innovation that bring national acclaim and recognition to the field of informatics, and honor and distinction to Indiana University.

Two Career Achievement Awards were given, one to Anand Deshpande and one to Cheng Wu.

Anand Deshpande is the founder and chief executive officer of Persistent Systems. Established in 1990, Persistent Systems is a leader in outsourced software product development, and currently employs more than 4000 people. He received his Master’s degree and PhD in computer science from Indiana University (1986, 1989).

Anand has received numerous awards and accolades for his outstanding contribution to
science and technology. He was recognized by the Department of Engineering and Information Technology, Government of India, and he has been awarded the Computer Society of India Fellowship Award in 2007 for outstanding achievement in the field of information technology.

Cheng Wu is co-founder and chairman at Azuki Systems, responsible for the company’s vision and corporate strategy. Cheng is a successful serial entrepreneur, having founded and led numerous businesses spanning a range of different industries, most notably Arrowpoint Communications, which was subsequently sold to Cisco Systems. Recently, Cheng served as chairman of Acopia Networks, a leader in high-performance, intelligent file virtualization solutions. Cheng founded and became chairman of Acopia Networks in 2001, after leaving Cisco Systems. He holds a Master’s degree in computer science from Indiana University.

To recognize his more than 20-year career in the networking and communications industry, Cheng was named to InteractiveWeek Magazine’s “Top 25 Unsung Heroes of the Internet” list in 2000 and named the Key Industry Player by Massachusetts Telecom Council in 2002. In addition to functioning as chairman of Azuki Systems, Cheng also serves on the board of eIQNetworks.

Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award is given to a recent alumna(us) in recognition of outstanding early career achievement that brings acclaim and recognition to the field of informatics, and honor and distinction to Indiana University; whose loyalty will further the development, growth, and excellence of the School.

Jennette Fulda was born weighing 8 pounds 5 ounces, but eventually tipped the scales at 372 pounds before losing almost 200 pounds through diet and exercise. After she lost half her weight, she ran a half-marathon and wrote a book called Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir. She chronicles her life after the "after" photo in the popular blog, She found this use of technology to tell her story a useful tool to help her on her weight-loss journey. The book and blog have been featured on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, Women’s Health, Glamour to name a few. Jeannette holds a certificate in Allied Computer Science and a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts & Science, both from IUPUI.

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is given to a non-alumna(us) in recognition of their outstanding service and support for the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing that furthers the development and excellence of the School, and the field of informatics.

Two Distinguished Service Awards were given this year, one to Mark Hill and one to Professor Edward Robertson.

Mark Hill has combined a stellar business career with outstanding service to Indiana University and the State of Indiana. His understanding of financial services and the impact of technology have made him a well-respected expert. Mark and his wife, Karen Baker Hill, founded and ran Baker Hill in 1983 until the company was acquired by Experian in 2005. Today, Mark and Karen currently are managing partners of Collina Ventures, a private investment company serving technology companies in central Indiana. Originally from Fort Wayne, he holds a BBA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Indiana University.

Mark is an adjunct professor at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing and former chair of its Dean’s Advisory Council. Mark serves on the board of directors of numerous companies, in addition, he is the current chairperson for Techpoint, Indiana’s premier initiative for growing Indiana’s thriving tech-based economy. At the request of the last three governors he has served the state of Indiana in various capacities.

Edward Robertson, professor of computer science and informatics, joined the IU computer science department in 1978 and served as department chair from 1982 to 1988. He served as associate dean of informatics from the inception of the School in 2001 to 2008. He holds a master’s degree and PhD in computer science from the University of Wisconsin.

Over the years, Robertson has served as an inspiration to countless computer science students. His awards include IU’s Teaching Excellence Award in 1999, 2000, and 2007, and the IU Trustee Teaching Award for Faculty in 2004. He was named a Fulbright Scholar in 1987 and during that year worked at the Institute of Computer Science in Nairobi, Kenya. He maintains an extensive list of publications, grant awards, and professional activities within the world of informatics.

Media Contact

Joanne Lovrinic