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Creating the pomp and circumstance
“It’s a huge logistical project. It really takes a full year to get all the details,” Grasser said. On June 10 and June 11, several key events take place, including the Senior Honors and Awards Convocation, the Baccalaureate Mass, the graduate and undergraduate commencements, the senior breakfast, the family picnic, and the military science ceremony. Within the span of just over 24 hours, she commented, “We put about 21,000 people in chairs.”
Which means she has to make sure that 700 chairs get rented for the Leavey Center and another 8,000 for Buck Shaw stadium. Plus she needs 1,000 programs for the Senior Honors and Awards Convocation. Four thousand programs are printed for the graduation commencement, and another 10,000 will be handed out at the undergraduate ceremony.
There is also the commencement packet that each graduate gets. “We review each student’s record maybe 10 times” to make sure the details are correct, she estimated. Grasser is also involved with renting the gowns with proper accoutrements for the 200 or so faculty who don’t own their own commencement attire. Then there are 100 or so flags to erect around the stadium, representing the different countries from which students come.
And the food: “We figure we put a bite of food in about 13,000 mouths over the two days.” But this is no one-woman show, she pointed out.
Almost every department on campus lends a hand in the preparation and execution of the many activities, she said, which makes her job possible. Although Grasser will be all over campus throughout the commencements and accompanying events, you may never see her. “My job is to stay calm and make sure it all goes right,” she said. “Our efforts show, but we never should.”
You know the name Johannes Gutenberg, the creator of the revolutionary 15th century movable type printing press. But what about the 20th century’s equivalent to Gutenberg? As the primary force behind the invention in the 1950’s of the magnetic disk storage device embodied in the RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) computer, Reynold B. Johnson also changed information dissemination forever, yet few people realize it.
But if electrical engineering professor Al Hoagland has his way, the general public will finally know Johnson’s name and the magnetic disk drive, the cornerstone of the modern technological revolution, will emerge from obscurity. For the past four years, the founder of the Magnetic Disk Heritage Center has tried to highlight the remarkable accomplishments of Johnson and his colleagues at the IBM lab at 99 Notre Dame Avenue in San Jose.
Thanks to efforts by Hoagland, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) unveiled an IEEE Milestone plaque on May 26, honoring the RAMAC for revolutionizing computer architecture, performance and applications. On May 24, SCU held a ceremony focusing on the RAMAC restoration project currently underway at the University.
History is slowly taking note of the magnetic disk. Hoagland, who is retiring this year, established the Magnetic Disk Heritage Center (MDHC) to preserve the history of the field. “What specifically triggered me, given the general lack of interest and skepticism among many about doing anything about this history, was my visit to 99 Notre Dame in San Jose to see how things looked, having been told a new garage was to be built on that city block. I discovered the original building still existed, and suddenly I saw that an incredible opportunity existed for the City of San Jose: to establish a technical museum featuring magnetic disk storage in the original building where the RAMAC was created,” he explained.
Through Hoagland’s efforts, the MDHC has succeeded in getting the site named a San Jose city landmark. Hoagland also convinced the current lessee, the Superior Court, to approve the placement and exhibition of large posters in the lobby reflecting the early magnetic disk work that occurred in that building.
Magnetic disk storage made random access of data possible, allowing technological advances that were previously impossible with the old methods of using magnetic tape or punched cards. Without the ubiquitous storage devices, there would be no World Wide Web as we know it. No Google. No TiVo. No ATM’s. No iPods. Since the birth of magnetic disk drives, advances have progressed at a phenomenal rate.
The original magnetic storage device was as big as a refrigerator and held a mere five megabytes of data. Compare that to the one-inch iPod of today which can store 6 gigabytes. And there’s no telling what the future will bring. “There’s almost no end of possibilities with the magnetic disk,” Hoagland predicted.
Ironically, though history has been slow to acknowledge the significance of magnetic disk drives, the vast quantities of information capable of being stored via the devices may transform history itself, or at least the interpretation of it. With saved e-mails, voice clips, digital photos, videos, and more, “historians of the future will be inundated with information,” Hoagland noted. “And we’re still on the technological upcurve.” For more information about the Magnetic Disk Heritage Center, visit www.sjmdhc.org.
Action Community Teams (ACT), a group of SCU staff volunteers, will be holding its 9th annual clothes collection June 6-9. Clean, usable clothes, shoes, blankets, sheets, towels, and children's clothes and toys will be accepted at the Campus Ministry Conference Room (next to the Benson Information Desk) between 9 a.m.- 5 p. m. on June 6, 7, and 8 or between 9 a.m.- noon on Thursday, June 9. ACT is particularly looking for professional women's clothes. Clothes are distributed to those on campus in need and then to InnVision's Georgia Travis Center, a clearinghouse for 12 local shelters including HomeSafe. Questions: Contact Kathryn Dunn, Orradre Library, x1753, email@example.com.
The June 1 issue of FYI is the last issue for the 2004-2005 academic year. FYI will resume publication in September 2005. Please keep sending story ideas, awards, and publication announcements to FYI.
Mary Furlong, executive professor of entrepreneurship at the Leavey School of Business was featured in a Time magazine article on May 16 titled "Midlife Crisis? Bring It On!"
Linda Alepin, head of the Global Women's Leadership Center at Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation in Entrepreneurship, was the lead feature in a section on entrepreneurship in the San Jose Business Journal, on May 15. Read the story.
Al Hoagland, professor of engineering was the section lead in a San Jose Mercury News article on the RAMAC, the first system for storing data on magnetic disks. Read the story.
The San Jose Mercury News published an article on Fr. Thomas Reese, the former editor of America magazine coming to spend a year at SCU. Read the story.
Law professor Bradley Joondeph was featured on KCBS radio on May 15 in a story on the Supreme Court decision on interstate wine shipments.
Economics professor Mario Belotti was featured on KCBS and KLIV radio on May 27 on a story on the Leavey School of Business Silicon Valley Business Index.
Economics professor Daniel Klein was featured on May 21 in a New York Times op-ed.
Lara Honos Webb, professor of counseling psychology, was featured in an article on autism in the Contra Costa Times.
Judy Nadler, senior scholar of government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, was featured in an editorial in the Orange County Register. Read the story.
Jeanne Rosenberger, dean for student life, has been appointed vice provost for student life.
Phil Kesten, professor of physics, has been appointed associate provost for the Residential Learning Community Program and will be responsible for providing oversight, leadership, and strategic planning for the RLC program and Residence Life.
Terry Shoup has been appointed interim dean for the School of Education, Counseling Psychology, and Pastoral Ministries for the 2005-06 academic year. A professor of mechanical engineering, he came to SCU in 1989 and served as dean of the School of Engineering for 13 years.
The 2005 SCU Engineering Achievement Awards: June 8, 3 p.m.- 6 p.m., in the Mayer Theatre. The banquet honors members of the School of Engineering's alumni community who have distinguished themselves through outstanding professional achievement, noteworthy community service, or exemplary dedication to Santa Clara University.
Alumni Association Graduation Picnic: June 11, 11:30 a.m. at the Stanton Field immediately following commencement ceremony. More SCU events.
A.A. Tsay and N. Agrawal published an article, "Channel Conflict and Coordination in the E-Commerce Age," in the journal Production & Operations Management (special issue: Collaboration and Coordination in SCM and eCommerce).
In April, Barbara Molony (history) spoke at Harvard University on "Middle-Class Tokyo Women and Subjectivity" and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C., on "Why Should a Feminist Care about what Goes on Behind Japan’s Chrysanthemum Curtain? The Imperial Succession Issue as a Metaphor for Women’s Rights."
William Stover (political science) published "A Dialog of Faith: Reflections on Middle East Conflict from Jewish, Muslim and Christian Perspectives" in The Journal of Beliefs and Values. The article was based on his Internet dialog among religious scholars and practitioners in conflict resolution that took place last spring.
Tom Savage’s (education) book Teaching Today: An Introduction to Education (2005) is to be translated into Chinese and will be distributed in the People's Republic of China.
Sunwolf (Communication) was the special editor for the journal Storytelling, Self, Society, for an issue devoted to research on storytelling and healing. In addition, her scholarship appears in the issue, "Rx Storytelling, prn: Storysharing as medicine." Storytelling, Self, Society.
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