I hope this letter finds you well and preparing for an enjoyable holiday season. We have a number of new and exciting developments with your Academy that are highlighted in this letter. Again, hopefully you will notice more content changes on the website, this time with the picture banner featuring some of last year’s scholarship recipients.
You may be tired of hearing from us about this year’s scholarship drive but we are pleased to announce that it was a great success – thanks to you! Currently the total of donations received for computer science scholarships is AHEAD of our goal of $25,000 at $26,605! In addition we received over $5000 in contributions to the AAoC sponsored company endowments. Those three endowments now total almost $50,000 and will contribute five scholarships for this year’s drive. That is an outstanding performance for our Academy and special thanks are in order for Gary Dowdy and his scholarship drive committee – Cindy Ashcraft, Tracy Black, Kim Clower, Don Hatfield, Charles McMurtry, Cindy Pickney, and Craig Thompson. Gary will send out a Scholarship Drive Summary Report in the near future that will detail the plans for this year’s awards.
In addition to the scholarship drive, this fall we have had a group of members working on the beginning of an Arkansas Computing Oral History Project. This project is the brainchild of John Chamberlin, building on some initial recorded histories started by Dr. Bob Crisp in 2006 when the Academy was founded. The plan is to video interviews with a number of the original architects of the computing profession in our state. The idea is to capture some personal information about these pioneers as well as some in-person, eyewitness accounts of how computing got started including descriptions of the most significant events from their point of view. The Pryor Center for Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville has agreed to house these videos in perpetuity. In addition, we have created a YouTube channel for the Academy and are making the videos available through our website. You can see all 14 that we have so far at http://araoc.org/history-project/.
These videos are done inexpensively and we are not trying to create award-wining documentaries (nor can we afford to!) but rather to get these important stories from such interesting people recorded for the benefit of future generations. I have seen them all and they are truly fascinating and a real treasure. The original interviews from 2006 were done by students as part of a project for Dr. Crisp’s class. The ones from this summer and fall (George Knight, Bob Crisp, Bob Oliver, AAoC founding) are of better quality thanks to modern equipment and the generous donation of time at the video studio of the Fayetteville Public Schools (thanks to Susan Norton!). Please check them out. We plan to do as many of these as possible over the next few months. In addition, we think we will be able to set up to do short interviews with the new Academy inductees in April at the annual meeting.
In addition to the videos, we are setting up a linked site to house old pictures. We have a great set of pictures from the 2006 AAoC founding banquet but would love to have any others that you have of our members or relevant computing industry visuals. Housing and making these pictures available through the website will be one of the next enhancements to our site. The Pryor Center also has the capability to preserve artifacts and if any of you have items that are indicative of computing in the 1950’s, 60’s or 70’s we can make sure they are properly accounted for and made available for viewing. Susan Huskey will get them delivered to the right place.
We also have a couple of reminders. Nominations are still being accepted for next year’s class of Academy membership. Please take some time to consider possible members. The nomination form is easy to use and is available on the website (http://araoc.org/members/nominate/). Finally, if you have not paid your $200 dues for the 2013 – 2014 Academy year now would be a good time to do that. New inductees are not asked to pay dues in their first year, but the rest of us are. We make it easy and you can pay through the website (http://araoc.org/members/membership/). As we say, dues are not mandatory but we need funds to operate and this nominal annual fee goes a long way toward funding our annual meeting, the website, STEM support activities and now video expenses. If we have not heard from you by the first of January we will give you one more chance to pay by sending you an invoice.
Plans are well underway for next year’s banquet and annual meeting. Three of our speakers are lined up and we are working on a panel as the fourth topic. It should be another great meeting and we hope all of you will be able to attend. Please mark your calendars – Banquet Friday evening April 4, Annual Meeting Saturday morning April 5.
See you there!