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IUPUI professor receives 'Technology Oscar' for high-tech entrepreneurial success

Ali Jafari, Mira Technology in Ed winner
Ali Jafari, Mira Technology in Ed winner Lori Phillips, Young Professional Finalist
Lori Phillips, Young Professional Finalist


May 22, 2012

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The entrepreneurial achievements of an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor have earned him recognition as one of Indiana’s leading high-tech success stories.

Ali Jafari, professor of computer information technology at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI and director of the IUPUI CyberLab, is the recipient of a 2012 TechPoint Mira Award.

Jafari received the Mira Award in the Technology in Education Excellence & Innovation – Individual category for his contributions to revolutionizing education through technology. Seven of Jafari’s innovations, including the learning management systems Oncourse and Angel -- bought in its 10th year for $100 million by Blackboard -- have been licensed or commercialized to date.

“We are delighted to have Ali on our team at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI, and congratulate him on the Mira award,” Dean David Russomanno said. “His cutting-edge entrepreneurship and his business sense are tremendous assets for the school and our students. We look forward to partnering with Ali on many more successful ventures.”

TechPoint, Indiana's technology growth initiative, established the Mira Awards to recognize excellence and innovation among the state's technology industry performers and contributors. The awards also focus attention on the broader issue of the importance of technology to the state's economy.

Insiders refer to the Mira Awards as “Indiana’s Technology Oscars.” TechPoint announced the 2012 winners during a black-tie, "Oscars-style" award ceremony May 12 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis.

Jafari was one of five finalists in his award category. An IUPUI student was also among the 69 Mira Award finalists selected in March by TechPoint.

Lori Byrd Phillips, Wikipedian in Residence at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, was one of six finalists for TechPoint Young Professional of the Year. Phillips is a graduate student in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The Young Professional of the Year Mira Award recognizes an individual younger than 30 who demonstrates excellence in her or his professional tech sector position and contributes to the industry and society in positive ways.

A total of 122 businesses, schools and professionals were chosen as finalists in the seven categories of the award program.

"Narrowing down the field to finalists was particularly difficult for the Mira Award judges this year because we had nearly double the number of nominees in just about every category," Jim Jay, president and CEO of TechPoint, said when the finalists were announced in March. "This is the largest class of nominees and finalists that we have had in the 13 years that TechPoint has been conducting the Mira Awards, and I think that says a great deal about the strength and resilience of Indiana's tech sector."