Maria Klawe

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Maria Klawe
Maria Klawe 2015.jpg
Klawe in 2015
5th President of Harvey Mudd College
Assumed office
July 1, 2006 (2006-07-01)
Preceded by Jon Strauss
Personal details
Born 1951 (age 65–66)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Spouse(s) Nicholas Pippenger, 1980
Children Two children
Alma mater

B.Sc., University of Alberta, 1973

Ph.D., University of Alberta, 1977

Maria Margaret Klawe (pronounced CLAW-vay, born 1951) is a computer scientist and the fifth president of Harvey Mudd College (since July 1, 2006).[1] Born in Toronto in 1951, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009. She was previously Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University.


Klawe was born in Toronto, Ontario. She lived in Scotland from ages 4 to 12, and then returned to Canada, living with her family in Edmonton, Alberta.[2] Klawe studied at the University of Alberta, dropped out to travel the world, and returned to earn her B.Sc. in 1973.[2] She stayed at Alberta for her graduate studies, and in 1977 she earned her Ph.D. there in mathematics.[3] She joined the mathematics faculty at Oakland University as an assistant professor in 1977 but only stayed for a year. She started a second Ph.D., in computer science, at the University of Toronto, but was offered a faculty position there before completing the degree.[2] She spent eight years in the industry, serving at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, first as a research scientist, then as manager of the Discrete Mathematics Group and manager of the Mathematics and Related Computer Science Department. She and her husband Nick Pippenger then moved to the University of British Columbia, where she stayed for 15 years and served as head of the Department of Computer Science from 1988 to 1995, vice president of student and academic services from 1995 to 1998, and dean of science from 1998 to 2002. From UBC she moved to Princeton and then Harvey Mudd College, where she is the first woman president.[4][5] She became a citizen of the United States on January 29, 2009.[6] Later in 2009, she joined the board of directors of the Microsoft Corporation.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

Klawe was inducted as a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery[8] in 1996, a founding fellow of the Canadian Information Processing Society[9] in 2006, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[10] in 2009, and a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[11] in 2012.

She has been awarded honorary doctorates from Ryerson Polytechnic University[12] in 2001, the University of Waterloo[13] in 2003, Queen's University[14] in 2004, Dalhousie University[15] in 2005, Acadia University[16] in 2006, the University of Alberta[16] in 2007, the University of Ottawa[17] in 2008, the University of British Columbia[18] in 2010, and the University of Toronto in 2015.[19]

She also served as the president of the Association for Computing Machinery from 2002-2004, and in 2004 won their A. Nico Habermann award.[20]


Some of Klawe's best-cited research works concern algorithms for solving geometric optimization problems,[21] distributed leader election,[22] and the art gallery problem,[23] and studies of the effects of gender on electronic game-playing.[24][25] She founded the Aphasia Project, a collaboration between UBC and Princeton to study aphasia and develop cognitive aids for people suffering from it, after her friend Anita Borg developed brain cancer.[26][27]

Advocacy for technical women[edit]

Klawe has been heavily involved with increasing the representation of women in STEM fields.[28] In 1991, together with Nancy Leveson, she founded CRA-W (The Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research) and served as its first co-chair.[29] She was also a personal friend of Anita Borg and served as the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology from 1996 to 2011.[30] Klawe was a huge advocate for salary negotiation by women, disagreeing with Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella, when he said "It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise. That might be one of the initial 'super powers,' that quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have. It’s good karma. It will come back."[31]


Klawe has also exhibited her watercolors.[4][5][32]


  1. ^ "Maria Klawe Named Fifth President of Harvey Mudd College". HMC Spotlight. Harvey Mudd College. January 17, 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Semuels, Alana (March 15, 2009), "Microsoft did the math, chose her", Los Angeles Times: B2 .
  3. ^ Maria Klawe at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ a b Ezarik, Melissa (July 1, 2006). "Diamond in the Mudd: the many facets of Maria Klawe, Harvey Mudd College's new leader". The Free Library. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Flynn, John (February 18, 2015). "Bits and Beauty". Metro Silicon Valley. p. 31. 
  6. ^ "President Klawe Becomes U.S. Citizen". HMC Spotlight. Harvey Mudd College. February 20, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ Fried, Ina (March 9, 2009). "Microsoft adds new board member". CNET. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ "List of ACM Fellows". Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  9. ^ "CIPS Fellow Members". CIPS (the Canadian Information Processing Society). Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ "List of Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences" (PDF). Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  11. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved January 27, 2013.
  12. ^ "Ryerson Honorary Doctorates". Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Waterloo Honorary DMath Degrees". Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Queen's University Honorary Degree Recipients" (PDF). Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Dalhousie University Honorary Degree Recipients, 2000-2009". Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "President Klawe to Receive Honorary Degree". Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  17. ^ Maria KLAWE, 2008 | Doctorats honorifiques | Cabinet du recteur
  18. ^ "List of 2010 Honorary Degree Recipients at UBC". Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Convocation 2015: Maria Klawe receives honorary degree from U of T". U of T News. University of Toronto. June 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-05. 
  20. ^ "Habermann Award Archive". Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  21. ^ Aggarwal, Alok; Klawe, Maria M.; Moran, Shlomo; Shor, Peter; Wilber, Robert (1987), "Geometric applications of a matrix-searching algorithm", Algorithmica, 2 (1–4): 195–208, doi:10.1007/BF01840359 .
  22. ^ Dolev, Danny; Klawe, Maria; Rodeh, Michael (1982), "An O(n log n) unidirectional distributed algorithm for extrema finding in a circle" (PDF), Journal of Algorithms, 3: 245–260, doi:10.1016/0196-6774(82)90023-2 .
  23. ^ Kahn, J.; Klawe, M.; Kleitman, D. (1983), "Traditional galleries require fewer watchmen", SIAM Journal on Algebraic and Discrete Methods, 4 (2): 194–206, doi:10.1137/0604020 .
  24. ^ Inkpen, Kori; Upitis, Rena; Klawe, Maria; Lawry, Joan; Anderson, Ann; Ndunda, Mutindi; Sedighian, Kamran; Leroux, Steve; Hsu, David (1994), ""We Have Never-Forgetful Flowers In Our Garden:" Girls' Responses To Electronic Games" (PDF), Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 13 (4): 383–403 .
  25. ^ Inkpen, K.; Booth, K. S.; Klawe, M.; Upitis, R. (1995), "Playing together beats playing apart, especially for girls" (PDF), Proceedings of CSCL .
  26. ^ The Aphasia project web site.
  27. ^ Cook, Michelle (February 5, 2004), "UBC Project Makes Life Easier for Those Suffering Aphasia" (PDF), UBC Reports, 50 (2) .
  28. ^ Morehead, James (September 10, 2011). "Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe on Women in Science, Math and Engineering". Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Past and Present Chairs of CRA-W". 
  30. ^ "Transitions". Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  31. ^ "The Perfect Case Against Microsoft CEO's Remark That Women Shouldn't Ask For Raises". Fast Company. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  32. ^ Lee, Rachel (February 20, 2015). "A colorful blend of art and science". Mountain View Voice. p. 13. 

External links[edit]