SI Goes High Tech

SI received its first computers in the 1970s for a summer session computer science class. According to an Inside SI article, “The students struggled with four Heathkits (made by Zenith and a gift of Don Ruder) and one Apple II computer in the back room of the library.”16

An anonymous gift of $50,000 to the Genesis II campaign helped SI purchase its first computer lab in 1982, made up of 30 Apple II Plus computers linked by a Corvus server. Biology teacher William Love ’59 set up the $100,000 lab and began teaching a computer course. “We are at the onset of a major revolution in education,” he wrote in Genesis II. “The computer will be the instrument of this revolution.” In 1987, thanks to a grant from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, SI created a second lab comprising 28 Macintosh SE computers. By the end of the decade, all the offices had personal computers to supplement the VAX server the school used for its primary database.

Those early computers at SI allowed Inside SI to switch to desktop publishing in 1986 using a Macintosh Plus and Apple’s first laser printer. Over the years, computers would become ubiquitous around campus. In 2001, the school issued laptops to nearly every faculty member, and the campus network went wireless in 2003. Currently, SI has two computer labs, with more computers available in the Wilsey Library and in various classrooms to help prepare students for the realities of the new millennium.

In the 1980s and 1990s, many SI grads found themselves working for Silicon Valley’s biggest computer firms. Charlie Jadallah ’77 and Mike Homer ’76 were key players in the early days of Netscape, and and Gary Roberts ’75 worked his way up the ranks at Oracle. In 2002, Paul Otellini ’68 was named president and chief operating officer of Intel after 27 years working for that company, and in 2004 he became the company’s CEO.