Celebrating 25 years

 

April 16, 2015

Hooman Radfar (E'04) aspired to become a CEO.

When he came to Carnegie Mellon University to pursue a master's degree at the Information Networking Institute (INI), the university swelled his ambition.

Fellow classmate Austin Fath (E'04) shared Radfar's aspirations. And with the help of funding awarded by the INI, their business idea would eventually come to life in "AddThis." AddThis provides marketing and tracking tools for online publishers and is the largest content-sharing platform that has reached 1.7 billion users worldwide.

Radfar was CEO, and he and Fath were listed together in BusinessWeekas top young tech entrepreneurs in 2007.

"I could share stories about our alumni like this all day," said Dena Haritos Tsamatis, who has served as director of the INI since 2004.

The INI offers professional graduate degree programs in information networking, information security, mobility and software management that represent an exceptional fusion of technologies, economics and policies of secure communication networks, systems and services.

On April 18, the INI commemorates its 25-year anniversary. Radfar will be giving the keynote speech at the celebration.

"Today, the INI has more than 1,500 alumni who are in cross-functional positions and leadership roles around the globe," said Haritos Tsamitis. "The INI is proud to showcase the accomplishments of its alumni, faculty and students in celebration of its 25th anniversary."

Over the years, the INI has been responsive to emerging technology and has grown in terms of its program offerings, student diversity and global reach. In 2002, the INI launched a master's program in Greece, the first CMU degree program offered fully abroad. Master's programs in Japan and Portugal soon followed. In 2005, the INI launched Women@INI (WINI) student organization to nurture a diverse learning environment, and the number of female students grew from a few, to nearly a third of INI's student population.

In 2008 the INI designed a unique bicoastal structure for programs that would allow students to integrate both the rich academic environment found in CMU's Pittsburgh, Pa. campus and the high-tech industries in Silicon Valley, Calif. Leveraging the abundant opportunities for its students to connect with the innovative and entrepreneurial activities of CMU's Silicon Valley campus, the INI established bicoastal master's programs in mobility, information security and software management. And the increase in enrollment numbers reflects the rapid growth of these areas.

"Throughout its 25-year history, the INI has demonstrated relevance and agility in effectively delivering multiple interdisciplinary programs through a variety of innovative delivery models," said Haritos Tsamitis.

The INI was the first to offer an interdisciplinary graduate program in information networking through an initial partnership with Bellcore. Since the INI's first small cohort of Bellcore employees, it has continued to adapt and grow. What began as a small fledgling program has evolved to become an integral part of CMU's College of Engineering and home to 223 current students from multiple nations.

The INI will celebrate its 25th anniversary by kicking off with Radfar's keynote during CMU's Spring Carnival weekend.