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Reflections on 45 Years in Graphics, Computing

  • http-blogs-fandm-edu-wp-content-blogs-dir-29-files-2012-04-janderson-jpg
  • Jay Anderson, the Richard S. and Ann B. Barshinger Professor of Computer Science Emeritus, takes a question during his final lecture—open to the College community—before he retired last year. Anderson spearheads the effort to deliver F&M applications to Apple's iTunes Store.

Jay Anderson takes a question during his last class.

As Professor Jay Anderson finished his final class at Franklin & Marshall College, he turned to his students scattered around the room.

“I have seen, by my count, 12 generations of students, and it is to you that I want to say thank you,” Anderson said.

The Department of Mathematics & Computer Science hosted a unique celebration Tuesday, Dec. 9, in Stager 113: “A Graphics Retrospective” with Anderson, the Richard S. and Ann B. Barshinger Professor of Computer Science.

Anderson delivered a personal retrospective on computer graphics, reflecting on where computers, computing and graphic software have come in the four-and-a-half decades since he earned his doctorate at Harvard.

More than 50 members of the faculty, staff and students crowded the lecture hall for the event.

“Forty-five years ago, there was no such thing as computer science,” Anderson explained.

The computers that existed were clunky and difficult to use.

In fact, he pointed out, the laptop he used for the graphics presentation Tuesday had far more power than the computer that he used during graduate school. That computer filled an entire room, he said.

The event was bittersweet for his students. They were happy to celebrate his career, but sad to see him go.

“I studied under him for two years,” said Stephanie Donofrio ’10. “He is such a good teacher and such a good person. I am sad today.”

Robert Burkhead ’09 remembered that Anderson taught his foundation course when Burkhead was a first-year student. This past summer, he had an independent study with Anderson.

“I’m sad to see him go. I wish him the best,” Burkhead said.

And he’ll get to tell Anderson that a lot next semester, as the two will continue to collaborate on an iPhone application they are writing. Anderson will be in Italy next semester teaching and taking some much-deserved time off.

“Thank goodness for Skype,” Burkhead added.