Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

David Walden
  • David Walden
David Walden

Innovator/Businessman

San Francisco State University

David Walden grew up in Pittsburg and Antioch, California, the son of two public school teachers. He was always interested in technical subjects, so much so that his father, who taught high school chemistry and physics, let David grade his students' papers when he was still in elementary school. Despite his formidable intellectual talents, Mr. Walden's academic path was not direct. During his collegiate years he changed majors from architecture to civil engineering to structural engineering before graduating from San Francisco State with a bachelor of science in math.

In his senior year at SF State he took a course in numerical analysis that required work on an IBM 1620, the school's only computer. He became so interested in computing that with the help of the student lab technician at the time, Stan Mazor, he stashed a sleeping bag in the computer center so that he could spend nights there without getting cold. He reports that he was not great at math, but when he graduated he had a passion for computers.

Immediately after graduation Mr. Walden went to work at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, where he was a programmer in the Space Communications division. He left MIT to work at Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. (BBN), which had one of the preeminent computer research and development centers in the world. There he was a crucial part of the seven-person development team that developed the ARPANET, the first packet-switching network. ARPANET was a precursor of the Internet.

Mr. Walden has contributed numerous innovations since then and has made a point to share his technical and management expertise with others. He has taught practical design and implementation of packet-switching networks at Harvard University and in several countries interested in building these networks.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Walden became an expert in the field of management. He has published extensively on a variety of management topics and was a co-founder of the Center for Quality of Management (CQM), a nonprofit consortium of more than 100 companies in the U.S. and Europe committed to sharing real experiences with a variety of modern management concepts and methods.

In recognition of his contributions to information technology and to making the world a better, more informed place, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Francisco State University are proud to confer upon David Walden the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.