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National Academy of Engineering to Induct KU Alumnus Brian McClendon

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

LAWRENCE — Distinguished University of Kansas alumnus Brian McClendon will receive one of the engineering profession’s highest honors in a ceremony next month in Washington.

McClendon, who co-created Google Earth and earned his degree in electrical engineering from the KU School of Engineering in 1986, will be inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) on Oct. 4 at the 2015 NAE Annual Meeting.

McClendon is currently vice president of Advanced Technologies at Uber Technologies Inc. He worked at Google from 2004 through 2015, serving most recently as vice president of engineering. McClendon’s former colleagues at Google recommended him for the NAE distinction. 

“Being nominated by my peers at Google and then being elected by the NAE is a great honor from two great organizations,” McClendon said. 

McClendon maintains close ties to KU, serving on the advisory boards for the School of Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He also donated tablet computers to a class of first-year engineering students and provided a Google Liquid Galaxy interactive display for the Self Computing Commons in Eaton Hall. He credits his Jayhawk roots for laying the foundation for his success.

“KU’s electrical engineering department did a great job of preparing me for both my hardware and software careers,” McClendon said. “Writing microcode for a hand-built microprocessor, as I did during my work at KU, turned out to be very relevant to my early career projects and expertise.”

McClendon’s official election citation from NAE is for strategic, technical and managerial leadership resulting in widespread accurate and useful geographic information.

“This distinction is an outstanding way to recognize Brian for his vast contributions to the engineering profession. It is a testament to his vision, creativity and overall brilliance as a software developer,” said Michael Branicky, dean of engineering. “We are proud to call him a Jayhawk. We are also grateful for his ongoing support and involvement with KU and the School of Engineering.”

More than a dozen KU faculty and alumni, including retired Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally and retired Chrysler CEO Bob Eaton, are members of the National Academy of Engineering.

NAE has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign members, senior professionals in business, academia and government. Founded in 1964, the NAE is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation.

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