Anna Kazanjian Longobardo | BS ’49, MS ’52 Mechanical Engineering
Anna Kazanjian Longobardo may be one of the few who can say that she has had an impact on technology management in the air, on land, and at sea. At Unisys, she directed a program to develop and test radiation-tolerant computers for the Air Force and also managed a program for the Federal Highway Safety Administration, studying roadway geometries that caused accidents. Earlier, at United Technologies, she worked on board U.S. Navy submarines and destroyers. Her innovative design to calibrate sonar increased navigational accuracy for submarines operating below periscope depth.
During her career, Longobardo took on larger and larger leadership roles, becoming the senior woman executive at the Unisys Corporation defense unit, heading a global organization supporting complex military and weather radar systems in more than 100 locations worldwide, supervising nearly 900 engineers.
Despite the demands of her professional life, Longobardo always found time to volunteer for Columbia. She has served as University Trustee for six years and is now a Trustee Emerita. The University cited her “indefatigable energy and intellect” in her retirement resolution. The recipient of the University’s Alumni Medal for Service, she has been the first woman to hold positions as president of the Engineering Alumni Association, president of the University’s Alumni Federation, and chair of the Dean’s Engineering Council, now the Board of Visitors. She is currently serving as chair of the Mechanical Engineering External Advisory Board. “I like to take a leadership role,” she says. “I’m talkative, and I say what I think.”
Volunteering is second nature to Longobardo who, while an undergraduate, helped found the National Society of Women Engineers, which elected her a fellow in 1991. She has also been involved in her community in many ways over the years. Currently, her civic posts include vice chair of the Bronxville (N.Y.) Planning Board and chair of its Design Review Committee, and, in 2008, she was elected Westchester County’s Citizen Planner.
Longobardo added another first to her portfolio when she became the first woman to receive the Egleston Medal for Distinguished Engineering achievement. “Whenever a new assignment or responsibility was given to me, I just gave it my maximum effort,” she said. “I was immensely honored to be recognized by the Engineering alumni for my work; I never thought about being the first at anything.” Longobardo credits her Columbia Engineering professors, who, she says, “told us that they were preparing us for leadership roles in American industry, and we believed them.”