Eric Schmidt ’76

Thursday, Apr 30, 2015

“Computers and Humans Will Each Do Their Best”

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, Inc., and a member of Princeton’s Class of 1976, gave a preview of the future during an April 30 talk on campus about the increasingly interconnected relationship between humans and machines. Schmidt also discussed the role of universities in innovation. The lecture was part of the G. S. Beckwith Gilbert ’63 Lecture Series, and was co-sponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Computer Science, Keller Center, and Center for Statistics and Machine Learning.


Schmidt joined Google in 2001 and helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. As executive chairman, he is responsible for Google’s external matters: building partnerships and broader business relationships, government outreach, and technology thought leadership, as well as advising the CEO and senior leadership on business and policy issues.

From 2001 to 2011, Schmidt was Google’s chief executive officer, overseeing the company’s technical and business strategy alongside founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Under his leadership, Google dramatically scaled its infrastructure and diversified its product offerings while maintaining a strong culture of innovation. Prior to joining Google, he was the chairman and CEO of Novell and chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Schmidt, who holds bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, served as a Princeton trustee from 2004 until 2008. He also is a member of the advisory council of the University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. In 2009, he and his wife, Wendy, established at Princeton the Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund, which supports the development of innovative new technologies that have the potential to enable significant scientific advances.

He is the co-author of two New York Times bestselling books: The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives, written with Jared Cohen; and How Google Works, written with Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle.

Schmidt is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council in the United Kingdom. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a fellow in 2007. He also chairs the board of the New America Foundation, is a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and serves on the boards of Khan Academy and The Economist.

This event is co-sponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Computer Science, Keller Center, and Center for Statistics and Machine Learning.

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