Georges Saab ’85 has been chosen as the recipient of the 2018 Greensboro Day School Distinguished Alumni Award, announced during the 2018 Graduation ceremony.
The Greensboro Day School Alumni Association, in recognition of excellence on the part of our alumni, established the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1991. This award is presented annually during Commencement to the alumnus/a who best exhibits at least one of the following qualities:
A. extraordinary service to the City of Greensboro, the state of North Carolina, or the nation
B. extraordinary distinction in one's field of specialization or extraordinary service to society and corresponding tangible benefit to fellow citizens.
After graduating from GDS in 1985, Georges attended Duke University, where he graduated early with a major in Philosophy, specializing in language and logic. Not one to let a humanities degree stand in his way, he moved to Silicon Valley and was an early pioneer in a seminal startup which led the then-nascent field of AI and logic programming. The technology created there has inspired many of the advancements which we find most exciting today, from natural language processing (like Alexa and Siri) to machine learning (like in search, mapping, and self-driving cars).
He was one of the early developers of the Java programming language at Sun Microsystems in the mid-90s, and he is currently the Vice President of Development for the Java Platform Group at Oracle. His group is responsible for the continued development of Java, one of the most pervasive technologies of our time which powers everything from the most popular internet sites to blue-ray players, to Mars landers.
GDS Alumnus, Andy Alspaugh ’83 stated, “Georges graduated from GDS "under the radar" of most folks. He was studious, quiet, kind, preferring to play in the band rather than trying out for sports or student government. However, he had a very successful career at Duke, and he is now the VP for software development (Java) at Oracle. He is taking this universal software platform to new levels.”
GDS Classmate, Walter Haldeman ’85, had the following to say: "Georges is a true knowledge leader in the technology industry. He is the key executive responsible for the Java programming language; setting the technology standards that impact everyone's lives in the digital age we live in today. With the advent of the connected world, including the Internet, smartphones, and now IoT [internet of things] with machine learning and artificial intelligence, Java is a key platform and ingredient for driving innovation across of industries and into our lives. Georges was an early pioneer as one of the key members of the original Java development team at Sun Microsystems. Today, he is the executive in charge of the Java development roadmap at Oracle. This is the type of leaders we should be recognizing as GDS alums ... to see future generations power of a GDS education."
Georges has been married for 20 years to Johanna, a radio journalist from Sweden, and together they have two delightful children - Elina (age 13) who is a passionate soccer player about to enter high school, and Alex (age 9) who is a rising fourth grader. The family splits their time between Palo Alto, California and Stockholm, Sweden. When not working or chasing after the kids, he can be found on the squash court or sailing.