Alumnus Timothy ‘Scott’ Case Urges UConn Graduates to Consider Ethics of Engineering

University of Connecticut students graduating this spring from the School of Engineering will be hearing from Timothy Scott Case at their graduation. Case, a UConn Alumnus and Connecticut native, is also a well-known entrepreneur, humanitarian and technological pioneer, as well as the founding chief technology officer for Priceline.

Because of the way UConn conducts graduation, each college will have at least one commencement speaker, although it’s possible for some colleges to have two if the speakers are split between the undergraduate and graduate classes.

While at UConn, Case graduated in 1992 with a B.S. degree in Computer Science and Engineering.

“Timothy ‘Scott’ Case…built and fronted several innovative high tech companies that have since joined the pantheon of household names, among them priceline.com, the ‘name your own price’ internet service,” according to the UConn School of Engineering website. “He is credited with building the technology that enabled the company’s hyper-growth.”

More recently, Case has shifted his focus from the private business sector to nonprofit organizations, such as Malaria No More, an organization that seeks to eliminate Malaria, a disease spread by mosquitoes, which has plagued developing nations in Africa for decades. Case is vice chairman and chief executive officer of the organization.

“The technologies needed to address malaria are readily available, yet lots of people are dying from this terrible disease, particularly children in sub-Saharan Africa,” Case said. “I became involved because it’s a big, but solvable problem, and we have a moral obligation to act.”

Case has insisted that Malaria could be solved through greater investments in the health care systems of developing nations and greater international aid to those nations, noting that malaria has largely disappeared from first world countries like the United States and Western Europe.

“The barriers to success in Africa range from lack of health system infrastructure to international political will, from resources to the near perfect environment for the mosquitoes that spread malaria to live,” Case said. “All of the barriers are addressable if humanity decides to tackle them.”

Case attributes the origins of his philanthropic interests to his time in college, as well as the nature of his upbringing and the importance of helping others that was instilled in Case at a young age by his parents.

“In college, I made the concerted decision that, for everything I worked on, I would consider the broader social impacts. I have carried this focus with me throughout my career, and I’m now blessed with the opportunity to turn a 100 percent of my focus toward solving social problems,” Case said.

In the past, Case has emphasized that engineering students should consider the broader social consequences of their work, and that socially beneficial products can be economically viable.

“If I were to send today’s students a message, it would be that if we look carefully at our role in problem solving, considering the social as well as the commercial aspects will make it a better product,” Case said, “We can make economically smart decisions that also serve social goals.”

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