September 18, 2023

Renowned innovator Marcus Weldon returns to Purdue for lecture and seminar

Marcus Weldon led two seminars in August entitled Critical Perspectives on Innovation: Learning from the Past and Inventing the Future.
Three graduate students in the project track master's program sit beside Marcus Weldon during a panel discussion. They are seated at a table with a projector screen behind them.
Marcus Weldon, third from left, sits at a panel discussion with three graduate students in the Project Track Master's program. (Purdue University photo/Ed Laucsh)

Purdue University’s Neil Armstrong Distinguished Visiting Professor will be back on campus next week to deliver a lecture and interact with students. Marcus Weldon led two seminars in August entitled “Critical Perspectives on Innovation: Learning from the Past” and “Critical Perspectives on Innovation: Inventing the Future.” His upcoming seminar on Sept. 25 is “Essential Perspectives on the Future: The Age of Human Augmentation and the Next Industrial Revolution,” which will build on the preceding two lectures and examine the types of roles that will be most changed in the new productivity era.  Weldon will also look at a number of different examples of industries that are leading this transformation, consider the roles that different innovation organizations could play, and contemplate the need for a new innovation vehicle to provide the maximum value to the largest cross-section of industries.

 “Dr. Weldon's August visit was a great opportunity for our students to think about how they can excel in their careers,” said David Janes, Professor of ECE and Director of the Project Track program. “The student panelists and audience participants were able to build on his concepts; this was great engagement with our new students.”   

The Sept. 26 lecture is set for 10 am EST in the Bill and Shirley Rice Design Studio in MSEE or via Zoom. The events are hosted by the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and the John Martinson Entrepreneurial Center (JMEC). In addition to engaging with the Purdue innovation community, a significant focus of Weldon’s visit is interacting with students in the ECE Project Track MS program and the associated Ideas to Innovation (I2I) design courses.  This includes student panels following his lectures and a “project pitch” session for I2I students. The Project Track MS program is comparable in scope and rigor to an MS thesis and builds professional skills for innovation leadership.

“Over his career, Dr. Weldon has demonstrated the value of combining deep technical expertise and an eye for innovation,” said Milind Kulkarni, interim head and professor of ECE. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to have Dr. Weldon share that vision and work with our students and faculty.”

Weldon has served as the President of Bell Labs and the Corporate Chief Technology Officer for Nokia.  He was responsible for defining and pioneering disruptive innovations and cutting-edge research that will lay the groundwork for the future Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.  He also played a pivotal role in aligning the technical strategy and driving innovative technological and architectural advancements within Nokia's end-to-end networking systems and software portfolio.

Professor David Janes stands at the podium during. Behind him is a Purdue ECE branded backdrop.
David B. Janes, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Purdue University photo/Ed Lausch)

In the current phase of his career, he is dedicated to assisting companies and institutions of all sizes in crafting their technical and innovation strategies for the upcoming industrial revolution. In the ICT industry, Weldon is known for his exceptional vision, which he used at Bell Labs to establish a unique innovation engine, with the primary objective of "inventing the future" of the networking and communications sector.

Throughout his career, Weldon has garnered numerous accolades from technical, scientific, and engineering societies for his exceptional work, technical foresight, and leadership. He is most prominently recognized for his knack for distilling complex, multi-faceted problems into straightforward and actionable solutions. This ability has made Weldon a sought-after advisor for governmental agencies and departments globally. Additionally, he provides guidance to C-level executives in the industrial and enterprise sectors, venture capitalists, private equity firms, and the broader investment community.

Weldon holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Harvard University, and a joint Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Chemistry from King's College in London.