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Student sitting at computer with hands on the keyboard.A student smiles while using one of first terminals in the Computer Science Department, the Digital VT 100. Today, a similar terminal is on display in the department’s historical area.

UWL Computer Science Department celebrates 50 years Oct. 5

“Imagine a computer creating works of art, writing a symphony or analyzing the word patterns and sentence structure of Shakespearean verse. These intriguing uses of computer technology could become reality at UW-La Crosse in the near future.” So went an article in The La Crosse Alumnus magazine in winter 1972 as the “computer revolution” hit campus.

UWL’s Computer Science Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary Friday, Oct. 5, with an alumni panel, social and dinner. Alumni, emeriti faculty, current faculty and friends of the department will celebrate computer science alumni and the start of the second oldest Computer Science Department in the UW System.

The department started with a visionary UWL faculty member, the late John “Jack” Storlie, who saw a need for computers both administratively and academically on campus. He convinced the administration of the need to purchase a computer and eventually created a department.

Take the quiz to see how much you know about computer science history — both at UWL and as the computer revolution took hold around the world.

Take the quiz.