News & Events
Xerox Chief Technology Officer Receives Clarkson University Honorary Degree
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/svandebroek.jp g ]
Potsdam, N.Y. -- Sophie V. Vandebroek, Xerox chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group, today received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 115th Commencement.
The degree was awarded "for her successful, career-long effort to pioneer innovative research for a changing global marketplace, and her personal commitment to developing the next generation of technology leaders."
Vandebroek offered the class of 2008 two pieces of advice. The first was to always look for the opportunity, no matter how challenging a situation is. "My favorite proverb is a Chinese word," said Vandebroek. "It has two characters... And the two characters together say 'crisis.' But if you cover the left stroke and look really hard ... you will see 'opportunity.' And most of us... see very quickly the crisis or the danger when something bad or difficult happens to you... Look at them as opportunities. I hope such a tragic event, of course, doesn't happen to you, but no matter how big the event is, look at it as an opportunity."
"At home... the most important thing is to simplify, simplify, simplify," continued Vandebroek. "There are just too many things that don't make you happy. For example, don't buy expensive items that you will just have to maintain..., don't buy a home that's larger than needed..., don't maintain a circle of 50 friends, a couple of close ones are enough..., and finally, don't try to do everything. Ask for help... It's your choice. You have only one life and it's too precious not to enjoy what you do each day."
Vandebroek has dedicated a significant part of her life to pioneering research resulting in innovative products and services for a global marketplace, while helping to shape the next generation of technological leaders and innovators.
She is responsible for overseeing Xerox's worldwide research centers and for maximizing the company's returns on investments in research and technology. Prior to her current position, Vandebroek was chief engineer of Xerox Corporation and vice president of the Xerox Engineering Center. As chief engineer, she was responsible for coordinating Xerox's engineering efficiency and effectiveness, a period during which Xerox refreshed more than 95 percent of its office product line and launched its flagship iGen3 Digital Production Press.
A true innovator, Vandebroek holds 12 U.S. patents. She has received numerous awards for her professional contributions from Xerox, IBM, HP, Monsanto, the Belgium National Science Foundation, Semiconductor Research Corporation, and Cornell University.
In addition to her success in industry innovation, Vandebroek has maintained a leadership role in the professional community of science and engineering. She served as an elected member on the IEEE electron devices society administrative committee. She has also served on the organizing committees of the International Electron Devices Conference, the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers in Engineering Symposium, and the Device Research Conference. Vandebroek currently serves on several university and technology councils.
A strong commitment to inspire children, and especially women and minorities, to aspire to careers in science and engineering is reflected in Vandebroek's involvement in and support of professional educational outreach programs, including FIRST robotics, the Xerox National Inventor Competition program, and the "By Kids For Kids" Invention Competition. She has also served as a judge for MIT's Technology Review Young Innovators awards, and The Wall Street Journal Innovation awards.
Clarkson University crosses the boundaries of disciplines, nations and cultures in order for discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise to come together. As a result, faculty and graduates grasp the full impact of their calling, direct their research to the world's pressing issues and lead with confidence and distinction. One in seven alumni is already a CEO or other senior executive. Located in Potsdam, N.Y., just outside the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, Clarkson is home to 3,000 students preparing for rewarding careers through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, science, and health sciences, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation and life experiences beyond the classroom.