Archive for Friday, February 11, 2005

Baker University honors former professor

February 11, 2005


— When William Graziano helped purchase Baker University's first computer in the late 1960s, he had no idea what the future would hold.

"I'd never have guessed there would be hundreds of computers on campus," he said. "I thought there might be more than one, but as far as hundreds, I'd never have envisioned that."

Today, Graziano, who is credited with helping Baker usher in the computer age, will be inducted as the 23rd member of the university's Faculty Hall of Fame. He will be honored during a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. at the Collins House.

Graziano, 68, served as a professor of physics at Baker from 1965 to 1999. He served for 23 years as chairman of the physics department, 13 years as chairman of the computer and information services department and seven years as division chairman of the mathematics and natural science departments.

"From what I've seen, and from what I hear from former students, he always was the go-to person for the young men and women on campus," said Dan Lambert, Baker's president. "He had a personal relationship with his students."

Graziano said the first computer courses at Baker were taught before there were any computers on campus. Students drove to a site in Kansas City to use computer terminals there.

He said Baker's first computer -- which he thinks was purchased in 1967 -- handled administrative duties such as financial aid, admissions, enrollment and alumni records. It measured about 8 feet wide by five feet high and had 10 megabytes memory.

"We were pretty pleased it was not 5 megabytes, and that we had 10 to work with," Graziano said. "By today's standards, it's tiny."

Graziano said he was glad he had come to spend his career in Baldwin, especially after growing up in Chicago and living near Washington, D.C.

"I remember wondering how I was going to like working in a small school and how I was going to like teaching," he said. "But after I came here I found I really liked teaching and liked the small school environment."

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