LINDSBORG- Vinton Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, will address the graduating class of 2009 during Bethany College commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. May 24. The Rev. Floyd Thompkins, Jr. will preach during baccalaureate worship at 10:30 a.m.
Cerf, a member of the Bethany President’s Advisory Council, will speak about “Innovation and the Importance of Discontent and Persistence.” He is widely known as one of the “fathers of the Internet.” He is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet, and he led the engineering of the first commercial E-mail service to connect to the Internet.
During the ceremony, Cerf will be given an honorary doctor of humane letter by Bethany.
Cerf is the former senior vice president of technology strategy for MCI and former vice president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives. During his tenure with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, he played a key role in leading the development of the Internet and Internet-related packet data and security technologies.
In December 1997, President Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his colleague, Robert E. Kahn, for founding and developing the Internet. Kahn and Cerf were named the recipients of the ACM Alan M. Turing award in 2004 for their work on the Internet protocols. The Turing award is sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science.” In November 2005, President George Bush awarded Cerf and Kahn the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their work. The medal is the highest civilian award given by the United States to its citizens.
Cerf holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Stanford University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in computer science from UCLA. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Sigrid, who has connections to the Lindsborg area.
A 1984 Bethany College graduate, Thompkins was ordained in Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Boynton Beach, Fla. After receiving the Benjamin E. Mays Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, he earned his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and then served as assistant dean of the chapel at Princeton University.
Thompkins has since served in pastoral positions in California, Florida and Georgia. He currently is executive director of the Bower Fund in Douglas, Ga., a community-based organization that promotes a positive developmental framework for youth.