The University of Reading recently presented Internet pioneer Dr Vinton G Cerf with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science. Dr Cerf is widely known as one of the ‘fathers of the internet’, co-designing its protocols and architecture. Today he is Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, contributing to global policy development and the continued spread of the Internet.
Dr Cerf has received numerous awards including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, US National Medal of Technology, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Charles Stark Draper award and Officer of the Legion d’Honneur. In 2012 President Obama appointed him to the National Science Board.
Dr Cerf is a hearing aid user and together with his wife, Sigrid Cerf, who has a cochlear implant, is a strong role-model for deaf people and innovative forms of communication. After the degree ceremony, Vinton and his wife Sigrid met Cathy Wardale, Programme Director of Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies. This unique course is offered nowhere else in the world and offers the chance to study theatre arts, education and deaf studies together, with a focus on Sign Theatre.
Dr Cerf then visited the IoE’s Learning Hub where he discovered a unique innovative learning tool – a talking pen pal book which allows children who speak different languages to learn together in one classroom.
He met Ken Carter, Founder and Executive Director of Decibels, a charitable company with the aim of promoting the arts-based education and training of disabled children and young people. Ken is also Director of the Deafax Research and Development Unit, of which Dr Cerf is Honorary President. Both charities are based at the University’s London Road Campus and work closely with the Institute of Education.
Dr Cerf said: “The University of Reading has a well-earned reputation in the academic world. The award of this degree honoris causa means a great deal to me, personally and professionally. I hope I can continue to earn this distinction in the future.”