Campus Life

Computer scientist who has increased the number of women in computing and mathematics to receive honorary degree

The University of Lethbridge is pleased to announce that Dr. Maria Klawe, president of California’s Harvey Mudd College, will receive an honorary degree at the 2017 Spring Convocation ceremonies.

Dr. Maria Klawe
Klawe is a theoretical computer scientist from Edmonton whose career has been marked by research into the gender issues in mathematics and computer science and significant contributions as a senior administrator.

“We are exceptionally pleased to award Dr. Maria Klawe an honorary doctor of science,” says U of L Chancellor Janice Varzari. “Her research into gender issues in mathematics and computing science, as well as her commitment and hard work to increase the number of women in these fields, is truly outstanding. Since she became president at Harvey Mudd, the percentage of women in computer science has increased to 40 per cent from 10.”

The University will present Klawe with a doctor of science, honoris causa, at the 2017 Spring Convocation I Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on June 1.

Dr. Maria Klawe

A world-class researcher, Dr. Maria Klawe’s work has made a difference in the lives of many girls and women by improving their representation in male-dominated areas such as computer science and mathematics.

She has published 84 papers in peer-reviewed venues on topics such as theoretical computer science and mathematics, the use of games in education and promoting more women to enter computer science.

Klawe has also made significant contributions as a senior administrator. Before she became president of Harvey Mudd College, a private liberal arts college in Claremont, California, she had been dean of engineering at Princeton and dean of science at the University of British Columbia. At UBC, Klawe was the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for BC and Yukon. She created the Supporting Women in Information Technology (SWIFT) program, which is still in operation today.

Klawe also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and was a member of the Microsoft board of directors from 2009 to 2015. She has developed and designed educational content for a math CD-ROM game; produced and designed an entertaining software activity and tutorial to introduce non-programmers to Java; and created a mathematical computer adventure game for children aged 10 to 14. Klawe has been involved in the development of aids for people who suffer from aphasia, a language impairment, and has most recently turned her attention to improving education in mathematics and science from kindergarten to Grade 12.