Bobby Schnabel, dean of the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, was honored with the Trailblazer in Technology Award during TechPoint’s 15th annual Mira Awards honoring the best of tech in Indiana. The award recognizes individuals whose vision and efforts in advancing technology have made a lasting and significant impact on Indiana.

Since Bobby became dean in 2007, the IU School of Informatics and Computing has tripled undergraduate enrollment to 2,000 undergraduate majors and doubled graduate enrollment to 1,200 students. Research funding has tripled to $17 million, and nearly 60 percent of the Informatics School’s students remain in Indiana for tech careers after graduation. Dean Schnabel teaches computer science and informatics in Bloomington, Ind.  and leads 150 faculty at both the Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campuses.

“Workforce is the key to the continued growth and success of Indiana tech companies,” said  Mark Hill, chairman of TechPoint and managing partner at Collina Ventures. “Bobby Schnabel has taken the vision of Myles Brand and the startup leadership of Mike Dunn and created an incredible school that will continue to feed our companies with talent.”

Trailblazers are among the state’s most influential thought leaders on technology issues, and each has been a catalyst in the growth and success of Indiana’s high-tech community. Previous winners include Scott Dorsey, Robert Compton, Jo Ann Gora, Scott Webber, Wil Davis, Michael McRobbie, Mark Hill, Scott Jones, Jim Eifert, David Becker, The Lilly Endowment, Martin Jischke, Bill Godfrey, and Donald Brown.

The two-campus school (Bloomington and IUPUI) was founded in 2000, and Bobby became its second dean in 2007. Since then it has grown dramatically into one of the largest and broadest computing schools in the nation, with over 3,000 students, nearly 150 faculty, and $17M annual research funding. Nearly 60% of its graduates take jobs in Indiana. In addition to education and research, the main foci of the school are economic development, entrepreneurship, and diversity.

The school initiated and hosts the IU BEST student start-up company competition which is one of the largest in the world, investing at least $200K into student start-up software companies each year. The Bloomington portion of the school is a “Pacesetter” in the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and has quadrupled its number of women undergraduate majors since 2007.

Bobby also is very active in computing education and diversity issues at that national level. A small sampling includes serving as co-founder and executive team member of NCWIT; founding chair of the main national group addressing K-12 computing education policy issues, the ACM Education Policy Committee; and member of the advisory committee of the National Science Foundation’s computing directorate. He has been recognized as a “White House Champion of Change” and with the Computing Research Association’s Nico Habermann Award for his diversity-related contributions.

Before coming to IU, Bobby had a long career as a computer science professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder including serving ten years as the founding director of the multidisciplinary ATLAS (Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society) Institute and concurrently, nine years as campus CIO. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Cornell University and his B.A. from Dartmouth College.

Bobby and his wife of nearly 33 years, Edie Stevenson, have two wonderful grown children, Heidi and Cory. Both Bobby and Edie are addicted to running; Bobby also requires treatment for an addiction to gardening and loves bicycling in the rolling terrain around Bloomington.

TechPoint, Indiana’s technology growth initiative, honored Bobby Schnabel and 14 other Indiana-based companies, entrepreneurs and educators for their technology excellence and innovation on May 3, at the Mira Awards gala presented by BKD CPAs & Advisors. Mira — Latin for miracle and a variable star thousands of times brighter than the Earth’s sun — represents the best of tech in Indiana each year.