Inventor of Ethernet and Venture Capital Executive Bob Metcalfe to Lead Innovation Initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin

Nov. 8, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe, an icon of entrepreneurial engineering and inventor of today's local-area networking standard, Ethernet, has been selected to lead innovation initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering.

bob metcalfe
Bob Metcalfe will join the Cockrell School of Engineering in January as professor of innovation, fellow of the Clint W. Murchison, Sr. Chair of Free Enterprise and professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Metcalfe will be professor of innovation, fellow of the Clint W. Murchison, Sr. Chair of Free Enterprise and professor of electrical and computer engineering. He begins his appointment in January 2011.

"The addition of Bob Metcalfe to our leadership team significantly advances our commitment to innovation and bringing entrepreneurial engineering education to our students," says Cockrell School of Engineering Dean Gregory L. Fenves. "In addition to working with students, Dr. Metcalfe will be fostering more dynamic interaction among faculty, research associates and graduate students, and venture capitalists, industrial partners and early adopters of technology."

Metcalfe brings to the university a variety of experiences and career contributions. He has been a partner of Polaris Venture Partners since 2001 and will continue to advise the Massachusetts-based firm as a venture partner. During the 1990s, Metcalfe was publisher of InfoWorld and wrote an Internet column with half a million weekly readers. During the 1980s, Metcalfe founded IPOed, and grew the billion-dollar computer networking company, 3Com Corp., which merged with Hewlett-Packard in 2010. In the 1970s, Metcalfe worked in the Computer Science Laboratory of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center where he invented today's local-area networking standard, Ethernet. Metcalfe also was a consulting associate professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University (1975-83), where he taught early courses in distributed computing.

"The future of the Texas technology landscape will be defined in the next 10 years as our business community embraces the innovation, entrepreneurship and technology emerging from outstanding academic institutions like The University of Texas at Austin," says Rudy Garza, managing partner of G-51 Capital and chairman of the Board of the Texas Exes, the alumni association for The University of Texas at Austin. "Today we can celebrate recruiting a world-class talent in Bob Metcalfe who is a catalyst for innovation and has excelled at the nexus of science, engineering and entrepreneurship. Bob's expertise of bridging science and technology into thriving businesses of the future will speed the success we all will experience as we work hard to spur innovation, build world-class businesses and create wealth and jobs in our great state."

Metcalfe holds two bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and industrial management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master's degree in applied mathematics and a doctorate in computer science from Harvard University.

"Innovation makes the world go round. It brings prosperity and freedom. It is a high calling. I look forward to helping bring even more innovative thinking into the classrooms and laboratories of the Cockrell School of Engineering and The University of Texas at Austin," Metcalfe says. "What's more, I look forward to getting the fruits of that innovative thinking out into world markets where it can do some serious good."

Thomas W. Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School of Business, says, "Dr. Metcalfe brings both intellectual firepower and the credibility of a proven inventor and entrepreneur to the university's innovation environment. He is the ideal spark for collaborative entrepreneurship on campus, especially between the business and engineering schools. His presence will open amazing learning opportunities for our students."

In 1980, Metcalfe received the Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery and in 1988 received the Bell Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 1995, Metcalfe was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1996 he received the IEEE's Medal of Honor. In 1997, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and in 1999 to the International Engineering Consortium. In 2003, Metcalfe received the Marconi Prize. In 2005, he received the National Medal of Technology for his "leadership in the invention, standardization and commercialization of Ethernet." Metcalfe entered the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows in 2008.

For more information, contact:  Maria McGivney Arrellaga, School of Law, 512-471-7330.

6 Comments to "Inventor of Ethernet and Venture Capital Executive Bob Metcalfe to Lead Innovation Initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin"

1.  Jeremy said on Nov. 10, 2010

What a great asset to our university. I remember back in the late '90s when the dorms were being wired with Ethernet. I worked at the campus computer store...this is a wonderful story.

2.  Otis Horton, Ph.D. said on Nov. 11, 2010

This is a fantastic addition to the faculty of our school. Welcome to Dr. Metcalfe and congratulations to everyone involved in his recruitment!

3.  Ravi D. Kumar said on Nov. 12, 2010

This is an excellent news. Dr. Metcalfe addition will make a huge impact to UT's image in the engineering world.

4.  Bhargav said on Nov. 12, 2010

Wow! In my MIS 301H class with Dr. Konana, we studied his findings on the business value to end-users of networks as directly proportional to the square of the number of users. Now, we will not only study his contributions but be able to learn from him directly! What a great addition to the Longhorn campus!

5.  LordRae said on Nov. 13, 2010

We might not have quite the budget for a lot of things we would like to do, but it's nice to see that we can still get top talents over here, and maybe make a difference.

6.  Justin said on Nov. 14, 2010

If I ever meet this guy it will be humbling.