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Roots that Matter

Martin Casado has been involved with Northern Arizona University since very early on—before attending the University for his bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering, Casado began conducting research in astronomy during his second year of high school. In fact, he achieved his first publication when he was only fifteen years old.

This initial research and attendance at Northern Arizona University fueled Casado to fully explore the field of engineering and continue his path to success through further education and research.

“When working here in astronomy, I worked in both the chemistry and biology labs. With that being said, I knew NAU was very, very supportive of these research programs. I think the exposure to research is as good as any I’ve ever seen, even when compared to higher-level schools.”

After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2000, Casado completed both his Masters and PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2007. While he attended Stanford, Casado cofounded the company Nicira, which developed networking technology that was defined by software. In July of 2012, Nicira sold to VMware, a company providing cloud services and virtual desktop software, for $1.26 billion.

Back to serve

After becoming a Fellow and GM of VMware, Casado has decided to give back to education. On October2nd of 2014, VMware gave the university an endowment of $800,000, which will provide many scholarships to underprivileged, in-state students in the engineering field. Casado believes that the endowment reminds students that large success is possible with a degree and that students from all backgrounds shouldn’t be discouraged when attempting to gain one.

“We don’t fund education sufficiently in this state,” Casado says. “My goal is to make this momentous, something that funds a significant percentage of students.”

Casado greatly supports the goals and efforts of both underprivileged and female students pursuing the field of engineering. One of his large goals is to provide more incentives for women and minorities to pursue the most challenging fields.

“I think that we need to provide more incentives and avenues for women to get into engineering,” Martin says. “I don’t think diversity is inherently good unless it adds some value, and the reality is that some of the best engineers I’ve ever worked with are females.”

Even though he travels about 220,000 miles a year, Casado is currently instructing at Northern Arizona University as a consulting professor. He encourages students to make pursuing success through happiness their first priority, and then insists that the rest will come along on its own.

“I turned my PhD thesis into a company. It was never about money -- it just feels good to have an impact.”

Always true blue

Even after all of his travels, Casado still regards Northern Arizona University as one of the most influential, regarding it as the place that enabled his career to take off. He firmly believes that the university is an amazing place to prepare for the future.

“The college has these centers of excellence that draw people in. If you care about education and community, it is important to raise visibility of Northern Arizona University. I believe that the college has that to offer.”