Picrtured: Curtis Wong, Backstage, Lincoln Center, June 3, 2016
On June 3, 2016, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York conferred its highest honor upon Curtis Wong, the great inventor and visionary and long-time friend to HASTAC, digital humanities, and the world of science and the arts. It was a great honor to be able to hood him and play a small part in conferring the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, upon this great, kind, brilliant, ingenious, generous, and modest human being who has given so much to us all.
Here is the citation that accompanied the presentation of the honorary degree and the hooding with the Graduate Center CUNY's colors. The photograph was taken backstage at Lincoln Center immediately before we all entered the stage for the Commencement Ceremony.
An inventor and a visionary, you have devoted your career to the future of media, pushing the boundaries of digital information in service of interactive learning. It is perhaps no surprise that you have been granted 57 patents in areas ranging from data visualization and user interaction to media browsing and automated
As a principal researcher at Microsoft, you led a team to build interactive spatial-temporal data visualization in Excel, which allows us to gain insight from the patterns of data rendered on a map over time. And in collaboration with Bill Gates, you conceived and created Project Tuva, which made the Messenger Series Lectures by the acclaimed Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Richard P. Feynman available, for free, to the public.
In 2008, you fulfilled a long-held dream by leading the vision for the WorldWide Telescope—a free, rich interactive virtual simulation of the universe designed to allow children of all ages to explore and understand the universe. Millions of young explorers around the world have used the WorldWide Telescope, known as WWT, to learn about astronomy from scientists and educators. We are fortunate to have it here in New York, at the Hayden Planetarium; it can also be found at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the California Academy of Sciences, and in other cities around the world.
Long before joining Microsoft, you were a creator. In 1998, as Director of Intel Productions in Silicon Valley, you developed the first Web-based, broadband art exhibition networks accessible to all, featuring 3D recreations of displays in the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and other major art museums. And as the General Manager of Corbis Productions, you created several award-winning CD-ROMs on art, history, and science.
You have also dedicated considerable time to working with nonprofits involved in education and the arts. You serve on the board of trustees for the Seattle Art Museum and on the advisory board for PBS Kids. Throughout your career, your work has received numerous honors, including a British Academy Award for Online Learning and several New York Film Festival Gold Medals.
For your contributions to how all of us see, think, explore, and learn, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York is proud to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.