In 1970, the Department of Computer Science was established under its founding department head, the late George Gorsline. Two years later, it would move from a single trailer near the Duck Pond to McBryde Hall, which would become its long-term home.
Fifty years later, in 2020, the department graduated its largest computer science class to date with 311 undergraduate degrees, 49 master’s degrees, and 28 doctorates awarded, quadrupling its total graduation rate from 1974.
In January 2021, the computer science department launched a semester-long set of virtual programs to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The 50th anniversary site will continue to be refreshed with new content each month, inviting alumni and friends to participate in a variety of virtual activities. Programs include faculty and alumni panels, 50 for 50 alumni spotlights, a virtual student research showcase, and a special virtual 5K event for alumni from around the world to come together March 20-21.
Computer science students Jonah Bishop and Alyssa Farrell have designed a commemorative T-shirt and decal that will be sent to all participants who register for the 5K. A portion of the race registration fee will be directed to the Computer Science Department Annual Fund in support of student groups and activities such as experiential learning and departmental growth.
The 50 for 50 spotlights are an ongoing effort to highlight 50 of the department’s alumni from across all decades in a question-and-answer format with questions tailored for the individual’s background and professional experiences.
The anniversary site is also a source of nostalgia with alumni encouraged to submit their photos and favorite memories of the department. A commemorative video will feature alumni and department leadership sharing their experiences and looking ahead to what the future holds.