Fei-Fei Li to Deliver Harvey Mudd Commencement Address

Share story

Fei-Fei Li, a thought leader in AI, champion of diversity in STEM and recent winner of the Technical Leadership Abie Award, has accepted the Class of 2020’s invitation to deliver the keynote address at Harvey Mudd College’s 62nd Commencement ceremony Sunday, May 17.

President Maria Klawe thanked seniors Priyanka Agarwal and Tiffany Madruga for their leadership and persistence in prioritizing the senior class’ wish list for speakers.

“We chose to pursue Li as a candidate to be the commencement speaker for the Class of 2020 because we believe she exemplifies the leadership, impact, depth of experience and knowledge that our class wishes to see in our commencement speaker,” says Agarwal. “We believe that her work in increasing diversity and inclusion in AI education aligns well with the Harvey Mudd mission statement. Given her background and vast experience, we are hoping she can provide invaluable insight, lessons and guidance for our class.”

Li is the inaugural Sequoia Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University and co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute. She served as the director of Stanford’s AI Lab from 2013 to 2018. During her 2017–2018 sabbatical from Stanford, she was vice president at Google and served as chief scientist of AI/ML at Google Cloud.

Li obtained a bachelor of arts degree in physics with high honors from Princeton and a PhD in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology. She joined Stanford in 2009 as an assistant professor. Prior to that, she was a faculty member at Princeton University (2007–2009) and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2005–2006). Li’s main research areas are machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and cognitive and computational neuroscience. She is the inventor of ImageNet and the ImageNet Challenge, a critical large-scale dataset and benchmarking effort that has contributed to the latest developments in deep learning and AI.

In addition to her technical contributions, she is a leading advocate for diversity in STEM and AI. She is co-founder and chair of the national non-profit AI4ALL aimed at increasing inclusion and diversity in AI education.

Li has been a keynote speaker at many academic and influential conferences, is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and is a recipient of numerous awards, including the 2019 IEEE PAMI Longuet-Higgins Prize, the 2019 National Geographic Society Further Award and the 2017 Athena Award for Academic Leadership. Work from Li’s lab has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Science and Wired, and she was selected as one of the 2017 Women in Tech by Elle magazine. Li received Good Housekeeping’s 2017 Awesome Women Award, was named a Global Thinker of 2015 by Foreign Policy and was recognized as one of the “Great Immigrants: The Pride of America” in 2016 by the Carnegie Foundation.