Kathy Hahn Davidson will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from Iowa State’s Department of Computer Science at a ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 21, in Ames. The award recognizes outstanding alumni from the department, which is in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Davidson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Iowa State in 1973. She joined Hewlett Packard (HP) as a research and development (R&D) software engineer while simultaneously pursuing a graduate degree in computer engineering from Stanford University. In her nearly 30 years with HP, Davidson held many R&D and management positions, until she was tasked with shepherding in the new millennium as HP’s worldwide director of HP/Agilent Technology’s Year 2000 Product Program. In this role, she spearheaded HP’s Y2K product efforts and launched the Y2K Program Office to meet product compliance objectives across 187 product lines.
Davidson was also instrumental in developing many innovative products and programs during her time at HP. She was the driving force behind the design, development and maintenance of operating systems and networking products for HP 1000, 3000 and 9000 systems/servers. She also created and managed the HP9000 Customer Advocacy Program and Technology Advisory Board to help improve customer relationships with R&D teams and to drive requirements for new systems.
After leaving HP in 2000, Davidson joined Network Appliance (now NetApp) as senior director of operating systems engineering before consulting for startups like Test Lab Technologies and Sagere Group. Davidson retired in 2003.
Davidson has served on the External Advisory Council for the Department of Computer Science, recruited many Iowa State graduates for HP and helped drive HP computing equipment donations to the university. She is a lifetime member of the ISU Alumni Association and is funding an Iowa State University Foundation scholarship for female computer science majors.