Dr. Anita Borg  (1949-2003) had a unique capacity to mix technical expertise and fearless vision that inspired, motivated and moved women to embrace technology instead of fearing or ignoring it. She touched and changed the lives of countless women in the computing fields and beyond. She is responsible for including women in the technological revolution – not as bystanders, but as active participants and leaders.

Anita founded the Systers online community in 1987, well before the concept of an online community was a part of the mainstream. In 1994, Anita co-founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, inspired by the legacy of Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. In 1997 she founded the Institute for Women and Technology which encompassed her earlier endeavors and began new programs, partnerships, and initiatives to include women in all aspects of technology.

In 1999, President Clinton appointed Anita to the Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology. In 2002 she received the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment. She was a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association. From 1998-1999, she served as a member of the National Academy of Engineering’s Committee for the Celebration of Women in Engineering which created the Summit on Women in Engineering in May 1999. She served on the National Research Council’s Committee on Women in Science and Engineering

Born Anita Borg Naffz on January 17, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, she grew up in Palatine, Illinois; Kaneohe, Hawaii; and Mukilteo, Washington. Anita found her way to a computer keyboard in her mid-20s. In 1981, she received a Ph.D. in computer science from the Courant Institute at New York University and embarked on a brilliant research career for some of the industry’s commercial giants. Her success in breaking through the “silicon ceiling” was an exception that proved the rule.


Anita’s work and vision were recognized by many organizations. She was honored with a variety awards including:

2002 Eighth Annual Heinz Award for Technology, Economy and Employment
2002 Honorary doctor’s degree in science and technology, Carnegie-Mellon
2002 National Organization for Women, Excellence in Education Award
2001 Professional Business Women of California 2001 Breakthrough Award
2001 SF Business Times, 75 Most Influential Women in the San Francisco Bay Area
2001 Computing Research Association, A. Nico Haberman Award
2000 Girl Scouts of America, Juliet Gordon Low Award
1999 ACM’s Distinguished Service Award
1999 Forbes Executive Women’s Summit Award for Outstanding Achievement
1999 Melitta Bentz Woman of Innovation Award
1999 Named one of the “Smart 50 People”, Sm@rt Reseller
1999 Named one of the “Top 25 Women on the Web”
1998 Women in Technology International Hall of Fame
1996 Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery
1995 Pioneer Award, Electronic Frontier Foundation
1995 Augusta Ada Lovelace Award, Association of Women in Computing
1994 “Top 100 Women in Information Sciences”, Open Computing Magazine
1994 World of Today and Tomorrow Award, Girl Scouts of Santa Clara County