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UMD Innovators


The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, UMD is home to more than 41,000 students, 14,000 faculty and staff, and 377,000 alumni all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas.

Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. We are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus.


Distinguished Innovators, EnTERPreneurs & Inventors

  • Sergey Brin 93, Co-founder of Google
  • Robert Briskman M.S. ’61, led the technical development of Sirius Satellite Radio
  • Distinguished University Professor Rita Colwell in UMIACS developed computational and satellite-based approaches to track and predict disease outbreaks after making fundamental discoveries about how cholera spreads. Her latest work is leading advances in molecular diagnostics of human pathogens and antimicrobial resistance.
  • Anthony Casalena ’03, Founder and CEO of Squarespace
  • Robert E. Fischell M.S. ’54, Sc.D. (honorary) ’96, invented vital health care devices: the first implantable insulin pump, the rechargeable pacemaker; flexible stents for coronary arteries, and an implantable device to preempt epileptic seizures that he co-invented.
  • Jim ’61 and Jane, Class of 1955, Henson, created Sam and Friends, Sesame Street, and Muppets
  • Brendan Iribe, Class of 2001, CEO and Cofounder of Oculus
  • George J. Laurer ’51 invented the Universal Product Code (UPC) while working for IBM
  • Ray Liu, a Distinguished University Professor of electrical and computer engineering, honored for work in wireless AI technology that has revolutionized wireless communication
  • Glenn Ricart Ph.D. ’80 created the first internet exchange point in College Park, connecting federal, commercial and non-commercial networks for the first time into a larger online universe. He also made UMD the first college campus fully wired for internet protocols.
  • Computer Science Professor Emeritus Ben Shneiderman invented the concept of internet text itself serving as a link to other webpages or websites—the genesis of the now-ubiquitous hyperlink.
  • Tim Sweeney ’93 created the leading Unreal Engine graphics software, which over its several generations has enabled some of the world’s most popular video games. One of them was Fortnite, published by Epic Games, which Sweeney started in his parents’ garage in Potomac, MD.
  • The late physics Professor Joseph Weber co-invented the maser (which led to the laser—a related device using optical light); he’s better remembered as the father of gravitational wave detection. The massive devices he invented to measure these ripples in spacetime did not succeed, but technology inspired by his work in 2015 detected the merger of two neutron stars a billion light years away.
  • Min Wu, Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in electrical and computer engineering with an appointment in UMIACS, recognized for her innovations in signal processing, particularly for safeguarding multimedia content and forensics.