Computational design guru John Maeda will address the class of 2017 at Drexel University’s commencement, which will be held on June 13 at 7:30 p.m. Maeda is the global head of Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic, the parent company of Jetpack, WooCommerce, Longreads, WordPress.com and more. The University-wide ceremony will be held at Citizens Bank Park for the second consecutive year.
“John Maeda is an engaging, international TED Talk veteran whose life’s work should be an inspiration for all Drexel graduates,” said Drexel President John Fry. “Maeda knows that the greatest advances do not come from having all the answers, but from asking the right questions.”
In honor of Maeda’s innovative thinking and his ability to recognize art and design as crucial forces shaping the modern world, Drexel will confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
An internationally recognized thought leader at the intersection of design and technology, Maeda is the catalyst behind the national movement to transform STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — into STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
Maeda draws on his diverse background as an MIT-trained engineer, award-winning designer, and executive leader to help businesses and creatives push the boundaries of innovation in their markets and fields. An internationally recognized speaker and author, Maeda’s books include “The Laws of Simplicity,” “Creative Code” and “Redesigning Leadership.” He has appeared as a speaker around the globe, and his talks for TED.com have cumulatively received more than 2 million views.
Before joining Automattic he was a design partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) where he advised startups on the business impact of design. Prior to KPCB, he served as president of the Rhode Island School of Design. He began his career as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartier Foundation in Paris.
Maeda serves on the board of directors of the consumer electronics company Sonos and the global advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State University and a PhD from the University of Tsukuba in Japan. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the White House’s National Design Award, the Tribeca Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Award for STEM to STEAM and was inducted into the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame.