Larry Irving was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame on Friday, becoming the first African American to be inducted into the group since its founding in 2012.
Irving produced the first empirical study proving the existence of the digital divide and is credited with coining the term, one of the reasons he was selected as an inductee.
He produced that study while serving in the Clinton Administration as an adviser on telecommunications and information technology issues. He was one of the principal architects of the administration’s telecommunications and Internet policies.
Irving told CNN that he is grateful for the recognition, but he hopes there will be more people in minority groups in his footsteps.
“I’m hopeful that my coming into the Hall of Fame will lead to more opportunities for more minorities to become players in this industry,” he said.
He said that he is still working to make the internet as inclusive as possible, so his work still isn’t done.
Irving’s selection adds to the richness and diversity that the Hall of Fame already has, said James Wood, chief communications officer at the Internet Society.
“It reflects the fact that internet innovation happened by many people in many places all around the world,” he told CNN.
What’s the Internet Hall of Fame?
The Internet Hall of Fame was launched by the Internet Society in 2012 and serves as both a recognition program and virtual museum.
It was meant to chronicle the history of the internet, as well as celebrate people around the world who have made significant contributions to it. Previous inductees include Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf, who co-designed the Internet’s architecture, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, and Marc Andreessen, co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser.
Since its creation, the Hall of Fame has had 114 inductees spanning 31 countries.
Nominations for potential inductees are open to the public. All applications are reviewed by past inductees, who come up with the final list.