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The Engineering Workforce of Tomorrow Must Think in Terms of Abundance

Bloom Energy Founder, Chairman & CEO KR Sridhar Delivered Inspiring Commencement Speech to University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering and Receives Honorary Degree from University of Delaware

As American engineering students cross commencement stages and earn diplomas this spring, Bloom Energy’s top executive is heading back to school.

Last week, KR Sridhar, PhD delivered the commencement speech to the more than 2,000 graduates of the University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering. And on May 25th he will also be recognized by the University of Delaware with an honorary degree for personal and professional achievement.

“It is a true privilege to participate in both events and I deeply appreciate the invitations and honors from these two great universities,” said Sridhar, who holds a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

Sridhar told students at the University of Illinois commencement that the workforce of the future will be shaped by their ingenuity and commitment to fresh thinking.

“As you embark on your journey, think in terms of abundance,” Sridhar told the graduating seniors last week where he delivered a visionary commencement speech.

Sridhar described the “genius of ‘and.’” when it comes to our future energy equations. Energy abundance results from explicit choices that require thinking in terms of “and” instead of “or.” In other words, future leaders like the graduates he spoke to should free themselves from worldviews revolving around false choices and scarcity. Instead, Sridhar explained, engineering graduates ought to utilize their education to deliver solutions not only for themselves and their families, but for the broader communities in which they live, and perhaps even for the benefit of the entire planet.

Sridhar explained that this thinking is particularly relevant to future leaders of the engineering profession because they are uniquely equipped to create, improve, and implement technological innovations to society’s most vexing challenges. 

In fact, it was with this mindset of abundance and the “genius of and” that Sridhar formed the foundational vision for Bloom Energy: a vision for clean and reliable and affordable and accessible energy for the entire planet. To Sridhar, the elements of this outlook are not mutually exclusive – instead, they can and should be pursued simultaneously. This aspirational sense of what could be is the foundation of what he hoped to instill in the Illinois engineering graduates.

The University of Delaware is no stranger to Sridhar and Bloom’s approach to energy abundance. Under Sridhar’s leadership, Bloom expanded its manufacturing operations into Delaware in 2013 when it converted an abandoned industrial site into a state-of-the-art, green tech facility where the Bloom Electrolyzer™ and Bloom Energy Server® are produced. 

Bloom’s workforce in Newark, Delaware has grown from 1 to nearly 800 over the past 10 years, and its growth has been supported by strategic investments and partnerships with the University of Delaware. Expanding on their longstanding partnership, Bloom Energy entered into an MOU with the university in 2023 focusing on research development and student and faculty engagement, and an expanded business partnership with the University of Delaware Department of Athletics, Community, and Campus Recreation. 

As young engineers of the future earn diplomas and cross commencement stages across the country this spring, Bloom Energy and KR Sridhar encourage them to never lose sight of what’s possible. “Congratulations to all graduates - the world looks forward to what you will achieve,” he said.

The Engineering convocation ceremonies can be viewed on the University of Illinois website: 

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