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Sweeny receives IU's highest staff honor

Senior network engineer Brent Sweeny rounds out his nearly 40-year career with IU's highest staff honor, the Bartley Award

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.— Brent Sweeny is leaving on a high note. The senior network engineer – who has worked at Indiana University since 1976 and retired May 31 – has received Indiana University’s E. Ross Bartley Award. Named after one of late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells' most valued staff members, the Bartley Award is the highest staff award given by the IU president.

IU Vice President for IT and CIO Brad Wheeler presented Sweeny with the award and added, "Brent is a proven visionary and well-known sage in the world of advanced research networks. His skills have been instrumental for the almost two decades of IU leadership in advanced networks. He helped connect IU to the ARPAnet, the predecessor to our modern Internet, and he's help engineer Internet2's leading 100Gigabit national network. This career of achievement has earned the E. Ross Bartley Award from IU President Michael McRobbie."

Sweeny originally came to Bloomington for a PhD in English literature, having earned his bachelor's and master’s degrees in English at the University of California, Riverside. Along the way, Sweeny’s career took a turn toward technology, a field where he's now known for his visionary leadership in building and managing some of the world’s most advanced high performance networks. Sweeny connected IU and other Midwest universities to the Internet in the 1980s, and served as IU’s lead network engineer – helping design and build Abilene, Internet2’s first national network – in the 1990s.

He rounded out his career as senior network engineer at the Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC). IU formed the GlobalNOC in 1998 to provide 24-hour network operations services for Internet2's first national network, and Internet2 again used GlobalNOC services to complete its new 100 gigabits per second national network. Today, Internet2 operates the nation's fastest, coast-to-coast research and education (R&E) network, and IU powers its Network Operations Center. For his ongoing role in this work and other global networking endeavors, Internet2 presented Sweeny with the President’s Leadership Award at the 2014 Internet2 Global Summit. (Read more: and

Through the years, Sweeny has helped organize and convene a number of prominent high performance network events, including iGrid and more than 10 Supercomputing Conferences. He has also served as a network engineering reviewer for a National Science Foundation panel.

From 2008 to 2012, he implemented a Cisco TelePresence National Research and Education Exchange within National LambdaRail (NLR), a high performance network operator. (TelePresence is an immersive conference system in which remote participants appear life-size on screen.) This enabled TelePresence connectivity throughout the R&E community, advancing communication and collaboration. Since 2012, he's worked with Internet2 on expanding international TelePresence capability.

Always ready to share his expertise, Sweeny has been an active member of a number of technical advisory groups, working groups and technical conferences over the course of his career. These range from the Internet2 Internet Protocol Version 6 and Quilt Telepresence working groups to the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network, Internet2 Member and Joint Techs meetings.

In his retirement, Sweeny plans to visit his mother in Salt Lake City and spend more time with his wife, Carolyn.