80 Is the New 50: Vint Cerf Is at the Top of His Game

Internet Innovator Recognized with Marconi Society Lifetime Achievement Award

NORTH OLMSTEAD, Ohio, March 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Vinton G. Cerf turns 80 this year and he’s busy as ever. As Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist continues his tireless efforts to advance the beneficial use of the Internet, he receives The Marconi Society’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Cerf’s work will be celebrated at the organization’s Awards Gala on October 27.

Cerf is the first person in the Marconi Society’s nearly 50-year history to receive both the Marconi Prize (1998) and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It is no exaggeration to say that Vint’s work on the Internet has created industries, brought opportunities to billions of people, and helped build economies,” said Eric Schmidt, former CEO and executive chairman of Alphabet, Inc. “While Google is fortunate to have Vint, we know that he is really the world’s Internet Evangelist.”

Cerf is best known for his work with Bob Kahn to co-create the Internet Protocol suite, known as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), the highly flexible technology that allows end-to-end data communications. TCP/IP was adopted as a standard for the U.S. Defense Department in 1982 and soon became the foundational technology used to connect computers and networks across the planet.

“I love to build things that connect people,” remarked Cerf. “I favor long term projects where the technology needs to catch up with the aspiration and a broad range of parties come together to achieve a result.”

Cerf has always sought ways to communicate easily and effectively. He engineered MCI Mail in 1983, bringing together companies with different technologies and opening a path towards Internet commercialization. While industry players focused on proprietary networks, Cerf had a wider vision built upon open standards.

“Even when the predecessor of the Internet was being developed for military use, Vint understood the power and promise of a network that could connect everyone around the globe,” noted Former Vice President Al Gore

This vision spurred Cerf’s engagements with organizations that help the Internet benefit everyone. He co-founded the nonprofit Internet Society (ISOC) to advocate for Internet policy and technical standards and chaired the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to coordinate the domain name system. He has led and served numerous organizations, from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Both the Internet and Cerf himself have significantly impacted the nonprofit sector. “The Internet enables us to immediately mobilize to provide meals to communities in crises,” said Chef José Andrés, Founder of World Central Kitchen. “Vint’s compassion and generosity are educating future generations of disruptors.”

At age 13, Cerf started wearing hearing aids, spurring his drive for communications and connection. He served for eight years on the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet University and is Google’s executive sponsor for several Employee Resource Groups to help people with disabilities. Cerf is an active supporter of diversity across gender, ability, geography and ethnicity in STEM. 

“Vint is unique in his pioneering breakthroughs, his mentoring of technologists, and his advocacy for diversity and inclusion,” said Andrea Goldsmith, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University and Marconi Society Board member.

Cerf continues to create the future by helping to build the Interplanetary Internet to provide communications for the growing number of people, vehicles and devices in space. He is a founding trustee of the Interspecies Internet, focused on exploring non-human communication. Digital accessibility technology and digital equity – particularly for rural areas and indigenous Tribes – are priorities. 

He’s not even close to the finish line.

“The problem with getting a lifetime achievement award is that everyone thinks you’re done,” said Cerf. “I am just getting started. Being in at the beginning of something big has an amazing payoff. Even if I’m not here when it finally happens, knowing that my contributions will outlive me gives me a vicarious sense of impacting the future.”

About the Marconi Society

Media Contact: 
Paula Reinman


SOURCE Marconi Society