Lock Haven University marked the anniversary of 50 years of teaching computer science through a wide offering of events held November 3 and 4.
In 1967, the mathematics department at Lock Haven University started offering courses in computer science. Since then, the program has evolved to become a major discipline and has had the privilege of contributing to the careers of many exceptional students.
Fifty years have gone by, and today LHU’s applied computer science program offers specializations in software development with its mobile and game application development track, in communications and security with its networking and cyber security track, and in data management and analysis with its data science track. It also includes an interdisciplinary computing track, allowing students to create a personalized program.
The weekend’s events kicked off with an alumni panel, during which four computer science alumni shared their journeys in the field. The panelists touted, “learning how to learn,” as the primary benefit they received through their coursework.
Computer science is an ever evolving field, and the ability to keep learning and adapt to new technologies proved a pivotal skill set for graduates. Joe Koehler, ’84, is an applications and architecture leader in the Federal Systems Applications Management group at Unisys. He credits the education he received at LHU with setting him on the path to success.
“Lock Haven University prepared me well for graduate study. When I arrived in grad school, I felt that I was ahead of the curve compared to many of my classmates and that is a reflection of the education I received at LHU. The professors here demonstrate a passion for their subject matter and that is evidenced in students’ learning outcomes,” Koehler said.
Koehler’s sentiments were shared by 2016 graduate, William Grove. Grove is employed by Lockheed Martin in King of Prussia as an associate software engineer. “Learning how to learn has been the key to my success at Lockheed Martin; and I believe my education at LHU gave me those skills. I felt very prepared going into my first job,” Grove said.
Saturday morning saw an opportunity for current students to show off the skills they’re learning in the classroom. Audience members were treated to demonstrations in robotics, algorithm visualization, and virtual reality. The activities concluded with a dinner held Saturday evening in the Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center. Alumni, friends, current and former faculty, and administrators came together to celebrate the program’s proud history and the numerous achievements of its alumni.
Dean of The Stephen Poorman College of Business, Information Systems, and Human Services, Dr. Stephen Neun said, “This program has been built on three pillars: our faculty who give our students a strong foundation on which to begin their careers, our alumni whose successes motivate us to continue the work we’re doing, and our students who benefit from a program built on a solid alumni base and driven by committed faculty.”
Bo Miller, 2002 alumnus, spoke about the impact the program had, and continues to have on his life. Miller serves as the director of LHU’s technology infrastructure department. In his remarks, Miller thanked the faculty and shared stories about his time as a student at LHU, noting the changes that have taken place in the University’s technology infrastructure since his time as a student.
He said that while many alumni of the program have gone on to notable careers in the industry with organizations like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and the U.S. Department of Defense, it has given him great pride to serve his alma mater. Miller announced that he will begin the Bo Miller Excellence in Computer Science Scholarship to benefit a student in the program. The scholarship will provide $1,000 annually to a student that meets predetermined criteria.
Paula Bell, professor emerita of computer information science, established a gift to support LHU’s robotics club and to fund student independent research projects. The $2,000 donation provides for hardware and software expenditures as well as workshop or seminar attendance within the research area.
“It was such a pleasure to spend time with our alumni -- reconnecting with former students, meeting others and sharing stories,” said Dr. Susan Strayer, professor of computer science. “We are very proud of our students, both former and current. They are the reason for the work we do here at LHU. The personal interaction and sense of community that a small university can provide are special things and it’s been very satisfying to be a part of it.”
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Lock Haven University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
Inside story photo, from left, are Dr. Stephen Neun, dean of the Stephen Poorman College of Business, Information Systems, and Human Services; Bo Miller, director of technology infrastructure; and Dr. Susan Strayer, professor of computer science.
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