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CSE congratulates our 2020 graduates

Congratulations to all CSE students in the 2020 graduating class! We want to recognize the hard work you’ve all put in amid a challenging, unique semester. Although celebrations are distant, the U-M community is no less proud of you and excited to see what good you’ll bring to the world.

List of graduating students

This academic year, over 1500 students have graduated with EECS degrees. We’re recognizing all of you here! View the full list of EECS 2020 graduates >

CSE student memories

We asked graduating students to share memories and reflections from their Michigan experience to commemorate their achievement in their own way. See the “yearbook” of respondents > Submission your photos and reflections >

U-M commencement website

For full-university celebrations and information. Learn more >

You did it! Shoutouts from CSE alumni

Congratulations on this truly exceptional accomplishment. While your graduation coincides with a time of tremendous uncertainty in the world, it is precisely these moments that make us stronger and more resilient when we emerge from the uncertainty.

Dick Costolo
BS Computer & Communication Science, 1985
General Partner, 01 Advisors

Former CEO, Twitter

Congratulations CSE Class of 2020!  The world needs your problem solving skills now more than ever!  Thanks in advance for building the future.  Go Blue!

Charles Asik
BSE Computer Engineering, 2000
Customer Engineering Manager, Google Cloud


Congratulations Class of 2020!!! You will forever cherish your time spent at the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor. The COVID-19 virus might have canceled commencement activities but can never take away your spirit and achievements. It has thrown us new challenges that I hope inspire you to tackle and achieve greater heights.

Subhachandra Chandra
PhD, 2000
Director of Engineering at Ghost

Congratulations 2020 graduates!  While it’s an abnormal time, your education and experience at U-M shows that you have the strength, the perseverance, and the will to overcome all challenges and obstacles in front of you.  I wish you all the best as you move forward.  Stay Michigan strong and always focus on your passions!

Todd Earls
BS Computer Science, 1997
Vice President, Information Technology – Digital Design and Manufacturing

After graduating from U-M, tons of opportunities opened up and I am now able to be a great educator and leader. It’s your turn! If you can imagine it… you can achieve it, and if you can dream it… you can become it! Congratulations to you, class of 2020. #GoBlue.

Sherin Hazboun
MSE Computer Science and Engineering, 2017
University Instructor

To the EECS Graduating Class of 2020: Quarantining doesn’t change the fact that you’ve done it — you’ve succeeded. Congratulations!

Leni Checkas
BS Computer Science, 1992


A positive attitude is the most important quality you can bring to your job, along with your U-M EECS degree — congratulations!!

Kate Margolese
BSE Computer Engineering, 1984

You’ve laid the foundation, now it’s time to build something spectacular. Congratulations and Go Blue!

Jon D. Fogel
BS – Computer Science & Communication Studies double concentration, 2001
Director, MAXEX

Congratulations Wolverines in the class of 2020! Graduating from the EECS department is an awesome achievement that will unlock a myriad of doors for you. No matter which of these doors you choose, remember that the same resilience that you showed in earning your CSE degree can be used to overcome your future challenges. Good luck!

Smita Krishnaswamy
PhD Computer Science and Engineering, 2008
Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics at the School of Medicine and in the Department of Computer Science in the School of Applied Science and Engineering
Yale University


Congratulations, class of 2020 computer scientists! It’s a difficult time for everyone, and I’m sure it’s even more challenging getting into your next adventure right at this moment. Nonetheless, it is exactly computer science students who can best connect the world, build network rather than division, create transparency rather than misunderstanding, and facilitate real-world interaction rather than making people distanced. Go Blue!

Luca Jiaxi Luo
BSE Computer Science, 2015, joint program of U-M and Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Engineering Manager at Airbnb

Congratulations on your great achievement! This journey at U-M is coming to a close for you at an unprecedented time in human history. Regardless of whether there’s a physical ceremony or not, this is a milestone in your life. Live up to the moment as best you can and never lose your desire to shape the world one small step at a time. 
And in whatever you do in life remember the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Don’t be afraid to give that little extra as the leaders and best. 

Kiran Prasad
BSE Computer Science & Chemical Engineering, 2019
Master’s Student at Carnegie Mellon in Artificial Intelligence 

Heartiest congratulations to the CSE Class of 2020!

In these unprecedented times, you should each be especially proud of what you have accomplished. As you move onward, never forget those skills that molded your success. Use those often for yourself, and share those often to help others. 

Forever, Go Blue!!

Suresh Subramanian
PhD Computer Science and Engineering, 1988
Partner and Strategic Advisor, Synerthink Solutions LLP


Congrats! Out of adversity comes strength and purpose. Go Blue!

Rob Relyea
BS Computer Science, 1993
Principal Software Engineer, Microsoft


When I was graduating, the economy was terrible and companies weren’t hiring. With no job offers, I started doing research work at the University. I decided to stay and pursue my masters degree to learn more about a subject that greatly interested me. These lows are the best times to invest in an idea, a venture, or your education so that you are in a strong position to seize opportunities that will present themselves in a year or two. 

Steve Cotterill
BSE Computer Engineering, 2002
MSI Human-Computer Interaction, 2005
User Experience Architect at Apple Inc.

Congratulations on this achievement!  You are graduating with a degree in a field that offers lots of opportunities.  Use that to your advantage, and look for those opportunities that allow you to make a difference – whether that difference is to the world, your local community, a single family, or even just yourself.  Again, congratulations, and welcome to the Alumni community!

J. Douglas Poe
BSE Computer Engineering, 1987

There are defining moments in our lives and graduation is certainly one of them. This defining moment for you came amidst a defining moment for our world. You will have a great impact. Your knowledge, your imagination, your creativity will be needed now more than ever. The world needs you and I know the Wolverine in you will respond. I send my thanks to you in advance for the change you will bring.

Richard Sheridan
CEO, Chief Storyteller & Tour Guide, Menlo Innovations


Congratulations!  Now that you’ve been graduated, I hope you feel that “the tassel is worth the hassle.” 

In the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, they talk about the “Michigan Mafia” – Michigan Alumni who will reach out and help when they know someone else is from UofM.  I just want you to know that extends to all degrees.  I am in I.T. and the roots of our co-worker’s universities remain strong, many years after graduation.

Never be afraid to say “Go Blue!”   And congratulations again!

Tim Reinman
BS Computer Science, 1986

Life is full of setbacks. Much like writing computer software, the more you can fine tune your algorithm to manage edge cases and exceptions, the more likely you are to happily ride the ups and downs. 

You are soon about to experience that Michigan will follow you every where you go and you have graduated from a public Ivy. This carries a lot of responsibility and it’s incumbent on you to step up and lead in whichever endeavor you put your mind to. This is Michigan, and this is the Michigan way. 

Aditya Govil
BS Computer Science, 2010
Vice President, Avant-garde Health and Fellow, Castor Ventures

One of my delights in serving on the CSE National Advisory Board is to witness the extraordinary creativity, enterprise, and social commitment of our student body. I admire the initiative of your generation of CSE students to apply your remarkable technical skills to creative endeavors and pressing social challenges, with the conscientiousness and camaraderie that inhere in our culture at U-M. As the field of computer science tackles the world’s profound existential challenges over the coming years, we are fortunate that you will be at the forefront, The Leaders and Best.

Shaalu Mehra
MSE Computer Science & Engineering, 1995
Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP


What a unique time to graduate into the world.  We’re all still figuring out what it means to work remote every day and you have an amazing opportunity to influence how we evolve our work life in such an unprecedented time.  You have known the internet your entire life, so take that familiarity and use it for good.  The world needs your bright, innovative minds.  We can’t wait to work alongside you!

Heather Morelli nee Uhring
BSE Computer Engineering, 1999

Senior Director, Enterprise Applications Engineering for Tableau, a Salesforce Company

Follow your heart and don’t let anybody steal your dreams. As one of only a few women who graduated with a BSE Computer Engineering degree in 1978, I was able to happily “steer” the direction of my career over 40 years to “taste” the vast “flavor” of the computer field, including roles in data communications & networking, embedded controllers, engineering department management, systems & applications design, software support, quality assurance, web design, and search engine optimization.  Never stop learning new fun stuff. 

Marlene Viola
BSE Computer Engineering, 1978

Congratulations on your graduation from one of the premier universities in the entire world.  And further congratulations on choosing computer science as a noble and challenging field of study.  My wish is that you always do your best, take the high road, be professional, take pride in workmanship, and make all U-M alumni proud.  Best wishes in all your future endeavors!

Kevin Albaugh
BS Computer & Communication Science, 1979
Data Architect

Congratulations on your tremendous achievement! The U-M alumni in the workforce look forward to amazing contributions from you in the near future!

Namrata Arora
MSE Computer Science and Engineering, 2007
Senior Software Engineer at Google


Continuing interests in problem-solving, a humble attitude, and striving for product excellence have always been my best friends in my career. I hope you all find your experiences as a student at U-M cherishable, and extremely useful in the days to come.

Youjia Lu
BSE Computer Science, 2016
Software Engineer at Google

Commencement is not the highlight of your time at Michigan. The rewards of your time and effort as you transition into a Michigan alum – that is the Michigan Difference. Go forth and be the change you want to see in the world. Stay safe, and Go Blue!

Griffin Wright
MSE Computer Science and Engineering, 2012
Hardware-in-the-loop Simulation Integration Engineer, General Motors

Congratulations! You have worked hard and deserved this diploma. You have the world of opportunities ahead of you!. Never settle for less than what you want, and never perform less than your best!

Samantha Eaton
BSE Computer Engineering, 2014
Software Engineer, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Trust all the invaluable learning, new skills and life-changing experiences you’ve gained from the University of Michigan. Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck on your future endeavors!

Kevin Chen
Computer Science Engineering, BSE 2013
Senior Consultant @ Deloitte Consulting

Congratulations Class of 2020! Pursue your dreams, as your new life is just beginning!

Joe Hidakatsu
BSE Computer Science, 2014
Web Developer


Congratulations! You made it through four grueling years of EECS! I bet you feel a lot more empowered now than you did the day you declared your major. 🙂 It’s unfortunate your final semester and college experience was cut short, but let this be the first of many curveballs thrown your way in the coming years. Resilience is key. Whatever the next step may be, you’re a lot more prepared for it than you may think. Go Blue!

Mario Admon
BSE, Computer Engineering & Electrical Engineering, 2012
Senior Software Engineer @ SambaNova Systems

Congrats on making it through the degree, fellow Wolverines. If you haven’t lined up something, I recommend finding an open source project and contributing your talents. There are many worthy projects out there — mostly software, but some hardware as well. Deep participation in an open source project ought to be considered work experience by forward-thinking employers. And they can be fun too.

Bret Gorsline
BSE Computer Engineering, 1991
Lead Technical Product Manager

Congratulations Class of 2020! Remember we are in this together. Today’s efforts will make tomorrow better. Go Blue!

Supriya Kumar(Nittoor)
BSE Computer Science, 2010
Data Scientist, Astrazeneca 


Congratulations on your momentous achievement! Graduating with a degree from The University of Michigan is no small feat and you should be proud of yourselves! It speaks volumes about your individual character, perseverance, and hard work. Savor it! The only advice I can give is remember who you are and always stay true to yourself. No matter how you succeed or fail in the future, always remember who you are. Go Blue!

Shane Bursae
BS Computer Science, 2000
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marines Corps

Congratulations on graduating from one the best CS programs in the world! You now join thousands of Michigan CSE graduates who have, and are, literally building the future. Even after 25 years, I am grateful everyday for the advantage a CS degree from Michigan has provided for me. Alumni like me are here to support you. Best of luck, and Go Blue!

Jason Heltzer
BS Computer Science, 1996
Managing Partner, Origin Ventures

Warmest congratulations on your graduation! This too shall pass and you will emerge stronger.

Yunyao Li
MSE PhD Computer Science and Engineering, 2003, 2007
Principal Research Staff Member and Senior Research Manager


Always remember that your learning doesn’t stop today as you graduate. It is a lifelong adventure, and you have a got great head start! So congratulations! Wolverines around the world are cheering for you. 🙂

Shantanu Gupta
PhD Computer Science and Engineering,  2011
Engineering Manager @ Pure Storage

Know that even though the odds may not seem in your favor, using the same grit and determination that got you through Michigan will get you far even in these times. Best of luck, but you probably won’t need to much of it given you are all U-M CSE grads!

Ben Page
BSE Computer Science, 2016

To the class of 2020, congratulations on all your achievements during your time at the University of Michigan! The world needs more innovative thinkers and dedicated learners to positively impact society, and I hope that wherever life takes you next, you’ll take everything you’ve learned inside and outside the classroom to bring out the best. 

Dennis Chang
BSE Computer Science, 2017
1st Lieutenant, Field Artillery
Executive Officer
Charlie Battery, 2-17 Field Artillery, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division


Optimize the whole, not the part.  This is true for both programs and for life.

Paul McCarthy
BS Computer Science, 1990
MS CS Artificial Intelligence, Wayne State University, 2013 
Senior Software Engineer V on Siri Natural Language Understanding at Apple Inc.


There is nothing more important in the world than kindness.

Laurie Donahue
BSE Computer Engineering, 1980
Senior Director, Nokia

There are no mistakes, just learning opportunities. Congrats, and forever Go Blue!

Dan Ferrara
BSE Computer Science, 2011
Senior Software Engineer @ Google

These are crazy and unprecedented times, but with a large portion of our everyday working, learning, and socializing activities moving to virtual online environments, there has perhaps never been a more important time be graduating as a CSE major. The opportunities are endless and the chance to have a meaningful impact on our world is great. As you move forward to the next phase of your career, the CSE alumni community is a diverse and thriving network that will always be there to support you throughout your journey.

Michael Doerr
BS Computer Science, 1997
Patent Attorney, Harness, Dickey & Pierce


We recognize that COVID-19 has changed your plans, and created new and unforeseen challenges.  However, as graduates of the University of Michigan you have learned the skills necessary to succeed in difficult times like this. Be a leader, stay positive, and know that you have the support of your Michigan family! 

Congratulations and Go Blue!

Jeff Kurburski
BSE Computer Engineering, 1988
CTO, Herman Miller Inc

I will forever be indebted to UMich for molding me into who I am. I came to Michigan for my doctorate, eager to become an academician, and left with the urge to break out into the world, become an entrepreneur and make a difference in my own small way. Congrats on graduating from one of the most inspiring and lovable schools in the world – carry the Go Blue flag high!

Avi (Avaneendra) Gupta
PhD Computer Science and Engineering, 1997
Founder & CEO, Bubble Insurance (stealth)

Congratulations, 2020 graduates! I am so, so proud of you. As you embark on this next chapter of your life, keep learning, keep growing, and never doubt your ability to do great things! Always live life to the fullest. 

Josephine Sulimin
BSE Computer Science, 2019
Information Security Engineer at Duo Security 

Pursue your aspirations to their fullest possibility. Congratulations Class of 2020. Go Blue!

Shaun D’Souza
MSE Computer Science and Engineering, 2005


Congratulations on your graduation! Wear the big smiles and enjoy YOUR moment. We are here together with best wishes for your next endeavor. Go Blue!

Qiyue Yao
BSE Computer Science, 2019

Congratulations on your accomplishment as a graduate of this very exceptional institution! Remember we bleed maze and blue and we are a call/email away for any help you need in your professional life. Now go out and make a difference in the world!!!

Lanka van Dort
MSE  Computer Science & Engineering, 1985
Head of Software Engineering, Kaiser Optical Systems
 

Congratulations, fellow Michigan Engineering Alumni!  Completing a Michigan Engineering degree is no easy feat, and you should be infinitely proud of the accomplishment; it will stay with you for a lifetime and will (rightfully) impress the people you encounter in your ongoing professional lives.  Remember this – one significant benefit of the rigor and intensity of your Michigan education was that it gave you “grit,” made you tough, and taught you how to conquer anything.  Use that learned perseverance in every career challenge you encounter.  It will serve you well.  Be proud, be tough, and always…Go Blue!

Shirin (Gursahaney) Mangold
BS Computer Engineering, 1993
Sr. Director, IT, Deltek Inc.


Changes are constant so embrace them, and make wise adjustments as changes reveal themselves. Be kind to yourself, to those around you and to the world. Best wishes to the graduating class and also to U-M!

Yijia Tang
BSE Computer Science, 2013 and MSE Computer Science & Engineering, 2014
Senior Software Engineer

Focus on creating those things that you find give rise to your innermost passions. Your tenacity will yield a personal meaning to your life and work that will supersede others’ concerns. Congratulations, and Go Blue!

Nicholas Fish
BSE Computer Engineering, 2008
Co-founder & Data Engineer

Two thoughts:

  • Starting now with that you do have beats starting later with what you might have. That person you admire didn’t get better because they waited.  They got better because they started. 
  • Everything New isn’t Good and everything Old isn’t Bad. Wisdom is about knowing which new things to embrace and which old things to retain. 

Bobby J. Allen II
MS Computer Science & Engineering, 2002
CTO, CloudGenera


Congratulations on your mighty accomplishment. Be proud, and use it to propel yourself forward. Great things are built slowly. Take pleasure in learning, continue the development of your mind, and be the boss of your world, no matter the station in your life.

Mickey Hadick
Computer Engineering, 1986
Sr. Digital Communications Advisor

Congratulations on your graduation! Good luck as you move forward with your careers, education or volunteering…  Be well, be hopeful, and always – Go Blue!

Abha Sangal Wiersba
BS Computer Science, 1985
Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President for Research UM Tech Transfer

Congratulations on earning your U-M degree.  Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you’re starting down the maize brick road and there will be many adventures in your software engineering career.  The field is broad so there are many routes you can take.  Some of those routes you will not find rewarding.  With experience, you will recognize this and try another one.  The key is to continually experiment in your career to find what you truly enjoy doing.  In the meantime, come back to campus now and then to recall your roots and to remember the ups and downs of your college days.  You can even bring your kids and tell them what a charmed place U-M is. Go Blue!

Dan Ouellette
BS Computer Science, 1984
Wayne State University Lecturer and Business Owner


1) Don’t worry if your first job isn’t perfect; learn all you can and when it’s time, move on. For me, the company culture–the people–was the key to a good fit and career success.  2) Make the effort to maintain your U-M friendships. Life will get busy: work, family, unexpected events. If you lose touch, reach out. If you have a falling out, patch things up. These friendships can be the ballast and long through-lines of your life and will become even more valuable 20, 25, 30+ years from now.

Patti Jazanoski
BS Computer Science, 1986

Although you may be concerned with starting your career during these difficult times, you have put yourself in a prime position for great success and are now among many of the greats that have graduated from U-M with a CS degree, such as Larry Page (co-founder of Google) and Dick Costolo (CEO of Twitter).  Stay focused, motivated, and dedicated, and you will persevere through these difficult times.

James D. Stevens Jr.
BSE Computer Science, 2013
Patent Attorney

Congratulations on this huge achievement of a degree in CS, CE, or DS at the University of Michigan! This has prepared you to do great things.

Don’t underestimate your ability to take on real world challenges. You may come out of U-M hoping you can get a job, but U-M has prepared you to serve and have a bigger purpose. Use your influence and good intent to bring about real change.

Rich Strader
BSE Computer Engineering, 1981
VP, Mobility Platforms & Products, Ford Motor Company


Congratulations on your graduation from the University of Michigan School of Engineering! This is a huge and valuable accomplishment! The Michigan alumni spans the globe. We are a large presence across the US and abroad. Your degree is highly sought after and valued by employers as they know the value of a Michigan graduate. Go Blue!

Nancy Kemper
BSE Computer Engineering & Electrical Engineering, 1979
 

As you embark on your working careers, you will be amazed at how much you will learn and continue to grow.  And, as you reflect you will realize that your University of Michigan education provided that foundation for a lifetime of learning. 
Congratulations!

Paul Renko
BS Computer Science, 1986
IT Executive, Ford Motor Company

Do things. Just do it all. Seek freedom. You find incredible people by doing incredible things. 

Ken MacInnis
BSE Computer Engineering, 2002


Congratulations on completing your graduation from one of the best universities in the world!

Reflecting on a speech given to my class of undergraduate seniors, one piece of advice stuck with me that I think is relevant to pass along.  As your professional career unfolds, always be a good, fundamental engineer first and foremost.  Even if you aspire to and are blessed with the opportunities to lead and manage technical teams, exemplify and respect what it means to be a good engineer.  That is “walking the walk” in terms of being the Leaders and Best!

Scott Sabin
BSE Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering, 1988

It is an honor to be able to congratulate you for this outstanding life-achievement.  It will be part of your essence for the rest of your life. I graduated long time ago. I did not attend Commencement since I was an international student from Panama and I decided my folks would spare the long trip. I got my diploma via mail…  I wish I had attended, but most important was that diploma. It was worth all the big effort! I have programmed from large databases to investments portfolio optimization. And I realize the key was the strong foundation I learned which allowed me to tackle any problem, from Algol (look it up) to C to Python.
COVID-19 has opened endless needs for a degree and education you have received. You can choose where others will have a very difficult time in the new world order to come. Go Blue!

Ricardo I Briceño
BS Computer and Communication Science, 1980
Investments Consultant and ex-Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor

Hi CSE Class of 2020! Wishing you the best! Don’t be afraid to lead the way — we need you!

Ben Yomtoob
BS Computer Science, 1986


To the class of 2020, you have experienced something none of the other classes at University of Michigan had ever seen.  In some ways, I expect you must have feelings of disappointment and uncertainty.  However, I encourage you to hold your heads high.  Focus on your skills and everything you have learned, and seek to excel when others are too afraid to try.

In my 20 years in the workforce, I have found that many other co-workers from colleges and universities across the nation simply did not have the strong educational foundation that I had received at University of Michigan.  They lacked confidence and ability to adapt to changes in the field and/or workplace.

When others are saying “I don’t know how to do that,” or “I’ve never done anything like that before,” this is your opportunity to succeed… this is your opportunity to lead.  University of Michigan graduates are defined as “Leaders and Best”… this now describes you!  Go out and lead, succeed, and be the best you can be!

Eric Koski
BS Computer Science – 1998
Software Engineer & Entrepreneur

In spite of what it looks like, you’re graduating into a wealth of opportunity.  Engineering is often criticized for turning us into antisocial propeller heads.  No.  Done well, engineering is about bringing joy to other people by giving them well-crafted, useful products that they find valuable, and that work so elegantly and reliably that people take joy in them.  And we have fun doing it.  There’s not much that’s a better combination.

But engineering isn’t the only track you have open to you.  I switched careers into law about 30 years ago, and almost every week I run circles around the rest of the lawyers in my field because I understand a financial statement, or a device, or a rate-limiting choke point, or what a viral exponential growth curve really means better than anyone else in the room.  That set of skills is valuable in law, in finance, in medicine, in government, in management — any place where there’s only room for one trial, where you need to be able to build a mental or mathematical model to reliably predict what will happen on that one try and what the collateral consequences will be.

You’ve worked hard, and you’ve gained an incredibly valuable set of skills.  Find something that translates those skills into joy and value for others.  I can guarantee with near absolute certainty that that will bring joy to you.

David Boundy
MS Computer and Communications Science, 1983
Managing Partner, Cambridge Technology Law LLC