Remembering the Early Years in Purdue Computer Sciences


Memories / Archive

of the

Early Years of the Purdue Computer Sciences Department

(1960's & Early 1970's)

(Evolved from the Purdue CS Old Timer's PANEL & REUNION, April 6, 2013)


 Panel Charts & Videos   |   Profiles   |   Photos   |  Fun Facts & more


Math-Sci. BldgPiggybacked on the Friday April 5, 2013, CS Department 50th Anniversary closing celebration (, Saturday, April 6, was  a day for those there in the 1960's and early 1970's to share memories of the formative years of the first CS Department, reflect on how the department influenced our careers and shaped a new field, and enjoy the company of old friends and colleagues from the early years.   Graduage students from that era made presentations on their experiences and memories in an informal reunion attended by several faculty members, including long-time faculty member and former CS Department Chair John Rice .


The webpage is a living memory archive from that reunion.  It comprises links to (a) charts from most of the presentations, (b) videos taped by the department of those presentations, (c) profiles featuring Purdue and post-Purdue experiences of many grad students and faculty from that era, and (d) selected photo collections of events from that era.  Send additional profiles and photos to Hal.Hart@ACM.ORG to be posted here.


Program for Purdue Ō60Õs and Ō70Õs Panel Session:  April 6, 2013
Panel presentations were a mix of semi-formal PowerPoint presentations and oral story-telling.  Below, PDF versions of PowerPoint charts that were presented are linked to the corresponding Panel Titles or Topics, and in one case two Comments entries, from Dennis Frailey's published agenda for the afternoon panel.  Alternatively, click on the parenthesized "(PPT)" after each to download or open the corresponding PowerPoint file.  (More charts may be added to capture some of the oral stories.)

CLICK HERE for Purdue's webpage linking videos from this panel and their April 5th Closing Celebration of the CS Department's 50th Year.  (Link unavailable as of April 17, 2013.)

April 6, 2013    LWSN 1142


Panel Title






Introduction (PPT)

Dennis Frailey

Introduction, Thanks, etc.

Dennis Frailey

Brief intro


Why CS and Why Purdue

Hal Hart

Purdue and Academic CS in the 1960Õs - The Birth of the CS Discipline (PPT)

Hal Hart,
Robin Lea Pyle

Faculty and Student Perspectives

Women in Computer Science (PPT)

Ruth Hart

What was it like to be a woman in CS in those days?


Adventures in the Math Sciences Building (PPT)

John Berenberg


Dennis Frailey

Why the Math Sciences Building was so important to the CS program

Moving Into Math Sciences

John Berenberg

Keys, Elevators, Mis-wired Thermostats, and the Hole in the Ground for the CDC 6500

The Computer Center

Berenberg, Frailey

IBM 7094, CDC 6500, Computer-generated dissertations, etc.

Dealing with the Bureaucracy

R Hart, T Lang, etc.

Dave Zimmerman, Door Decorating Contest, Frisbees, etc.

The Classes

Berenberg, Ragan

QOFAT, fake quizzes, etc.




A Tribute to Faculty and Classmates who are No Longer With Us (PPT)

Frank Friedman



Some of those who have left us.

Saul Rosen


Brief tribute for some of the more noteworthy classmates and faculty of the time. Each followed by remembrances from the audience. 

Maurice Halstead

Norm Gibbs

J Richard Buchi

L Duane Pyle

Robin Pyle

Ray Boyce

Ruth Hart


Protests and Tribulations (PPT)

Dick Smiley, Rich Ragan


Dennis Frailey

Brief background on the Vietnam war and related factors that influenced us so much

Staying in School

Smiley, Hart, TBD

Student deferments, long lines at the draft board 


The Reformed Druids of North America (PPT)

Protests (PPT)

R. Hart

What were we protesting? RuthÕs flowchart. Saving the Computer Center / Math Building from Protesters.


Recreation (PPT)

Rich Ragan

Assorted anecdotes on how we relaxed


Background photos and stories of parties and other recreational events



Dennis Frailey

What We Learned from our Purdue Experience


And How it Affected our Lives and Careers


Photos:  1960's-70's photos from Mary (Dickie) Cooper and the Harts have been scanned in, and photos were taken at the April 6-7, 2013, festivities.  Click on any title below to link to the corresponding photos assembled as a Picasa album: (any title not linked means its Picasa album is still Under Construction)


Old Timer Profiles
Berenberg, John
James, Rick
Berk, Toby
Lancaster, Ron
Bicknell, Judy (Fuller) Lang, Tom
Boisvert, Ron
MacLennan, Bruce
Burchard, Hermann
Noonan, Robert
Clavin, Sue (Linder) Oldehoeft, Arthur
Cooper, Mary (Dickie)
Oldehoeft, Rod
Dershem, Herb
Pickett, Mary
Denning, Dorothy
Pruess, Steve
Denning, Peter
Ragan, Rich
Frailey, Dennis J. Schwetman, Herb
Friedman, Frank
Shen, Vincent
Gunn, Moira
Sweet, Roland
Hart, Hal
Terry, John
Hart, Ruth (Mazur)
Tobias, Beth (Holden)

Zweben, Stu

FUN FACT:  Purdue awarded its 100th MS in CS in 1968.




Updates, submissions, and webpage suggestions to Hal.Hart@ACM.ORG

Webpage created for reunion/panel publicity Feb. 28, 2012.

Webpage evolved to memories/archive version April 17, 2013.  

Webpage last modified May 4, 2013