2013 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Sandra Rankin received her bachelor’s in computer science from the University of Illinois in 1974. She went on to earn a master’s in computer science from Washington University in 1978. She is a retired IBM executive with 33 years experience working in the field of information technology.
Rankin began her professional career as a programmer and software designer for IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York, where she led projects focused on improving the performance and capacity of IBM’s mainframe operating system software. In 1983 she went into a management role and was responsible for designing new software and hardware features in IBM’s mainframe systems.
She transferred to Austin, Texas, in 1994 to work on IBM’s personal computer and small server operating system. In 1999 she was promoted to director and returned to New York, where she led a project to develop the latest Internet technologies for IBM. She also led a small consulting business to test out these new technologies with customers and prove their readiness for commercial business. She worked with many of the vendors in the computer industry to set standards for Internet technologies such as Java, XML, and service-oriented architecture. In 2002, she led the worldwide customer support team for IBM software and was responsible for maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.
Rankin was promoted to vice president in 2006 and managed the mainframe software and firmware development teams. She led a team of 3,000 people in labs all over the world with a budget of $250 million.
Rankin retired in 2007 and lives in Danbury, Connecticut, with her husband John. Today she is an active volunteer with United Way of Western Connecticut and the founder, board chair, and acting executive director of Technology Solutions for Non-Profits (TS4NP). TS4NP delivers low-cost private cloud services to small local nonprofit agencies, and delivers training on how to implement best practices using technology as a tool for efficiency and improved effectiveness.