After graduating from Robert College of Istanbul, he received both his B.S. (1963) and Ph.D. degrees (1968) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and then taught on the faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst until 1985.
In 1982, Sahin founded Kenan Systems with a $1,000 personal investment and no outside funding, a company that grew to employ more than 900 people by 1999. In 1999 Kenan Systems was acquired by Lucent Technologies. He then became President of Lucent's Software Products Group and Vice President of Software Technology at Bell Labs,. In December 2000, Sahin left Lucent, and in late 2001, Lucent sold the assets of the former Kenan Systems to CSG Systems for US$300 million In 2002, Kenan took over the Technology & Innovation business of Arthur D. Little, a consulting firm which was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1886 and transformed it into TIAX, a leading technology development company. Under Sahin's leadership, TIAX is a laboratory-based technology development company headquartered in Lexington, MA with non-laboratory offices in Cupertino and Irvine, CA.
In November 1999, Dr. Sahin donated $100 million to his alma mater, MIT, in an unrestricted gift. The gift was the largest ever received by MIT and one of the largest in higher education at that time.
In 2006, Sahin was selected as the recipient of the 29th Annual Golden Door Award by the International Institute of Boston
Dr. Sahin serves, or has served on, numerous non-profit boards, including those of the Council on Competitiveness (CoC), MIT (for whom he is a life member), Argonne National Laboratory, the Boston Museum of Science, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Symphony, and the American Field Service. He is also on the Steering Committee of the CoC’s Energy Security, Innovation & Sustainability Initiative; and on the External Advisory Board of MIT’s Energy Initiative.
- Junnarkar,Sandeep "Lucent to buy Kenan Systems" "CNET News", January 11, 1999
- "Plenty of people talk about applying academic models to industry - Kenan Sahin, president of TIAX, LLC, actually does it." "Appliance Magazine", July 2003
- "Kenan, Lucent Part Ways; Post-Acquisition Woes""Billing and OSS World", February 1, 2001
- "Lucent sells billing assets for US$300 mln""Total Telecom", December,24 2001.
- Feder, Barnaby J. "Private Sector; A Father of Invention Is Retooling" "The New York Times", February 23, 2003, accessed July 8, 2011.
- "About UChicago Argonne, LLC Board of Governors"
- "Alumnus Kenan Sahin makes surprise $100 million gift to MIT" "MIT News", November 8, 1999, Accessed July 11, 2011.
- "The World Economic Forum Designates TIAX President Kenan Sahin As Technology Pioneer for 2003" "BNET: CBS Business Network", November 21, 2002, Accessed July 11, 2011
- "First Annual "Circle of Excellence" Award for Unique and Significant Contributions, Innovation, Longevity and Inspiration to be Awarded to Dr. Myra Hart and Dr. Kenan Sahin""Business Wire", May 14, 2004, Accessed June 6, 2011.
- "Dr. Kenan Sahin Receives 2006 Golden Door Award; Founder and CEO of TIAX LLC selected by the International Institute of Boston for his contributions as educator, entrepreneur, and business leader" April 18, 2006.
- "MIT Corporation Membership: Sahin Life Member"
- "MIT Corporation names 14 members" June 7, 2000.