Pitt Is 18th in Nation Among 'Tech's 29 Most Powerful Colleges' in New Ranking by The Daily Beast

Issue Date: 
June 7, 2010

The University of Pittsburgh is 18th in the nation among “Tech’s 29 Most Powerful Colleges,” according to a new ranking of that title by the American news reporting and opinion Web site The Daily Beast, which is published by former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown. Among the other universities in the top 18 are Dartmouth, Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, MIT, Duke, Northwestern, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, UCLA, and Illinois; among other institutions in the top 29 are Berkeley, Wisconsin, and Purdue.

For the ranking, The Daily Beast researched the leadership of more than 100 tech companies—including all those among the Fortune 500 plus start-ups in the TechCrunch 50 list and the tech category of Technology Review’s Most Innovative Companies list—and then “analyzed the biographies of the companies’ CEOs and other top executives…to tabulate their undergraduate alma maters. … Schools that produced multiple executives in our universe of companies made the first cut in our analysis,” according to The Daily Beast’s explanatory article on the ranking by New York City-based writer-editor Thomas E. Weber, a former bureau chief and editor at The Wall Street Journal and former editor of SmartMoney.com. The final ranking factored in the undergraduate enrollment of each university.

According to the article, the ranking sought to answer the question, “Which schools do the best job crafting technology leaders?” The Daily Beast’s analysis involved “more than 250 industry tycoons and execs. … Our goal was to identify which colleges, compared student-for-student (undergraduate enrollment data courtesy of the National Center for Education Statistics), have turned out the most undergraduates destined for high-tech greatness,” Weber’s article continued.

In its write-up on Pitt, The Daily Beast singled out Pitt’s Technology Commercialization Alliance (TCA) as a “Tech Feature” and undergraduate alumni Robert K. Henry (ENGR ’69), executive vice president and chief operating officer of Harris Corporation in Melbourne, Fla., and Ted W. Schremp (A&S ’93), executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Charter Communications in St. Louis, Mo., as “Notable Alums.”

TCA (www.pitt.edu/tca/about.html) was founded in 2002 as the “premier resource for commercial innovation at the University of Pittsburgh, providing extensive entrepreneurial support, education, and outreach for Pitt faculty, staff, and students on the road from concept to commercialization.” It was designed to function as the central portal for “the most innovative, inspired commercial ideas at Pitt.” TCA also partners with investors and members of private industry to help them identify the best opportunities on campus.

Harris Corporation is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. The company has approximately $5 billion of annual revenue and more than 15,000 employees—including nearly 7,000 engineers and scientists.

Charter Communications, Inc., is a Fortune 500 company and the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States, with more than 16,000 employees nationwide.

Weber’s article quotes a leading executive-search firm CEO on how “some schools excel at inculcating a crucial skill for techland: dealing with uncertainty and making the right decision without taking too long to size up a situation…” These are the schools selected as the top colleges in the ranking.

Two majors, according to the explanatory article, “ruled the list”—engineering and computer science, which accounted for nearly one quarter of the undergraduate degrees earned by the tech executives examined in the ranking. Other popular majors among the executives during their undergraduate years were economics, business, and mechanical engineering.

The full article and ranking details are at www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-05-03/techs-29-most-powerful-colleges/full/.