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NEWS: Rose-Hulman Commencement 2012

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Commencement 2012: Dean Kamen Speaks

May 31, 2012

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology President Matt Branam announces that world-famous inventor, innovator, entrepreneur and advocate for science and technology education, Dean Kamen, will deliver the commencement address at the Institute's 134th commencement on May 26.

  Dean Kamen
  Dean Kamen

"Dean Kamen is a man who inspires us not only for his inventiveness and success, but for his tireless devotion to young people around the world," said President Branam. "As the founder of FIRSTĀ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization dedicated to introducing young minds to science and technology, Dean Kamen has set more young people on the path to becoming engineers and scientists in America than perhaps any other individual."

Carlotta Berry, Ph.D., Rose-Hulman's Director of the Multidisciplinary Minor in Robotics, has been a volunteer judge in the FIRST Robotics Competition since 2007. "I know dozens of students who gained their inspiration to enroll at Rose-Hulman and to pursue a career in technological innovation after their experiences in Kamen's FIRST organization. For many of our graduating seniors, seeing Kamen in person and hearing him speak will be the crowning moment when a dream that began as youngsters is achieved as they receive their degrees from our esteemed institution," she said.

Kamen founded FIRST in 1989 and by 2011 was serving more than 250,000 young people, ages 6 to 18, in more than 50 countries.

"I am excited to visit Rose-Hulman for the first time. Its reputation for inspiring young people to become innovative technology leaders is well known. Rose-Hulman is a true partner in my mission to help young people become scientists and engineers," said Kamen.

As an inventor, Kamen holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents, many of them for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide. While still a college undergraduate, he invented the first wearable infusion pump, which rapidly gained acceptance from such diverse medical specialties as chemotherapy, neonatology and endocrinology. In 1976, he founded his first medical device company, AutoSyringe, Inc., to manufacture and market the pumps. At age 30, he sold that company to Baxter Healthcare Corporation. By then, he had added a number of other infusion devices, including the first wearable insulin pump for diabetics.

Following the sale of AutoSyringe, Inc., Kamen founded DEKA Research & Development Corporation to develop internally generated inventions as well as to provide research and development for major corporate clients.

In addition to DEKA, one of Kamen's proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST. High school-aged participants are eligible to apply for more than $14 million in scholarships from Rose-Hulman and other leading colleges, universities and corporations. Studies have shown that FIRST alumni are highly motivated to pursue careers in science and engineering, thus fulfilling Kamen's goal of inspiring the next generation of technological leaders.

Kamen has received many awards for his efforts. Notably, he was awarded the 2000 National Medal of Technology by President Bill Clinton in recognition for inventions that have advanced medical care worldwide, and for innovative and imaginative leadership in awakening America to the excitement of science and technology. Kamen was also awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2002, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005.