50 Years of SIGCSE: History Blog

In 2018 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of our SIGCSE organization. As part of the celebration we are posting a “timeline” of events that happened in the organization’s history. We are building this week-by-week over 2018.

If you have any information about a specific event or any additional information or pictures to include in the posts below, please forward to Briana Morrison: bbmorrison@unomaha.edu.

--------------------- to be continued during 2018 --------------------------
The 2nd Technical Symposium was held at Washington University in St. Louis on March 24-25, 1972. The Conference Chair was Seymour V. Pollack from the University of Cincinnati. The Program Chair was Leland Williams from Triangle Universities Computation Center and Robert Aiken (University of Tennessee) once again was Editor of the Proceedings. Again, “over 40” papers were submitted with approximately 30 being accepted. There were 179 attendees. (Briana Morrison)

Also, some additional information from Chris Wilcox about the man who organized SIGCSE and was the first Chair:
Dr. Organick was my master's thesis advisor and a personal friend of our family. I first met him by chance in the 1970's at a remote lake in the Uinta mountains where my father and I were backpacking. He was diagnosed with leukemia shortly afterward, and told that he had a very short time to live, however he actually survived for another ten years. During that period he became my advisor and I learned from him as well as teaching for him numerous times during his illness. I credit him with sending me down the path of becoming a computer science professor. He was a man of complete integrity and boundless energy, both before and after his diagnosis. I still remember him telling me with his usual prescience how excited he was about object-oriented programming (in Ada), and how that would be the next big thing, I think anyone that knew him would give the same sort of testimonial, and I was not in the least surprised that he was a charter member of the SIGCSE organization. (Chris Wilcox)

There was no Technical Symposium held during 1971, instead it was moved to the early months of the following year (February/March) which has been fairly constant since that time. SIGCSE did get a new slate of officers in 1971: Aaron Finerman was Chair, Tom Kurtz was Vice-Chair, and David Matula continued as Secretary/Treasurer. Board members included Robert Aiken, Peter Denning, and Richard Hamming. Robert Aiken continued to serve as the Bulletin Editor. (Briana Morrison)

In 1970 SIGCSE Board Members were Elliott Organick, Chair; David Matula, Secretary/Treasurer; and Robert Aiken was the Bulletin Editor.

The SIGCSE Technical Symposium was the first conference organized by our newly founded SIG. The first Technical Symposium was held on the 16th of November, 1970 in Houston, TX. Peter Calingaert from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the Conference Chair. Edward A. Feustel from Rice University was in charge of Arrangements and Publicity and Robert Aiken from the University of Tennessee was the Program Chair and Editor of the Proceedings. There were 143 attendees. There were “over 40” papers submitted with 18 accepted. (Briana Morrison)

Beginning in 1969 Elliot Organick served as the founding chair of SIGCSE with Bob Aiken the founding secretary/treasurer and TW Hildebrandt the founding editor of the Bulletin. The first Steering Group (the original Board) consisted of Jack Belzer, Peter Calingaert, TW Hildebradt, Thomas Keenan, Earl Schweppe, and William Viavant. William Atchison and S.D. Conte served as Ex-Officio members of the Steering Group. (Briana Morrison)

The year is 1968. A group of computing educators met at the Fall Joint Computer Conference (FJCC) in Las Vegas to write and sign a petition that eventually led to the creation of SIGCSE. Elliot Irving Organick (1925 – 1985) is credited with being the driving force behind the group. The petition was signed by 20 ACM members, including Bob Aiken. (Briana Morrison)

The petition to form SIGCSE in 1968