The A. Nico Habermann Educational Service Award
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3891
(412)268-8525 . (412)268-5576 (fax)


Greg Kesden
Associate Teaching Professor and Director, Educational Computing and Laboratories
2015 Awardee

I don't think winning the Habermann Educational Service Award is the same as winning the spelling bee, a race, or any other contest of skill, talent, and/or conditioning. It is more like enjoying the good fortune of a winning streak in a game of chance at a celebrity fundraiser. I won, in large part, just by getting to play among a group of such amazing and impactful people working to make the world a better place.

Every recipient of the award since its inception has written that they were humbled to receive the award. I certainly won't break that fine tradition. I am humbled. Mostly just by getting to play at all.

And, for exactly that, for getting to play, I'll join in another great tradition among recipients, I'll offer thanks. To those who, so many years ago, had a hand in inviting me here: The day my offer letter showed up via Fed Ex, I knew I got lucky. I knew I won. I knew I would get to work with tremendous people. Thank you for that chance.

To the many tremendous people who, over the years, have let me share in your work, and make parts of it my own – thank you. It has been a gift.

For me the paradox of winning this, the Educational Service Award, is that I won it for getting to share in the incredible work of so many talented and dedicated people, which was, itself, a huge win. That is amazing!

If today I can offer some advice, it would be this. Seek out amazing, passionate, and dedicated people, lend yourself to advance their success, and learn from them everything you can. Share your passion with others, teach them what you know, and let them be a part. Winning is not compatible with a spectator sport. It is all about playing.

Thank you. And, thank you again.

16 May 2015

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