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Senator Rosenberg presents State Senate Citation during Computer Science’s new Schoolhood/50th anniversary celebration

 Senator Stanley Rosenberg presents CS Chair Lori Clarke with Senate Citation

During the School of Computer Science's celebration dinner on Friday, October 18, Massachusetts Senator Stanley Rosenberg presented School Chair Lori Clarke will a citation from the Massachusetts Senate "in Recognition of:  The Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the graduate program in computer science at University of Massachusetts Amherst and fifty years of excellence that makes Massachusetts proud."

The dinner, attended by a hundred alums, faculty, and guests, was one of the many events held during the three-day celebration of UMass Amherst Computer Science becoming a School and coinciding with the 50th anniversary of its founding.

"Becoming a school is recognition of where we believe computer science is going in the future," says Clarke.  "It recognizes that computing has become very interdisciplinary, enhancing and opening up new avenues of investigation in just about every discipline. It is not just the use of computing power for crunching numbers and obtaining new results, but the application of computational thinking that allows new ways of exploring problems and seeking new insights. As a school, we have interactions with every other school and college on campus and with various departments and disciplines around the world."

Hundreds attended the "Broadening the Impact of Computing" festivities from October 17 - 19.  On Thursday, October 17, many CS alums returned to campus for the Computer Science Career Fair and "Careers in Computing Panel." Students packed the conference room to meet with prospective employers.

On Friday, October 18, a full day of panel discussions attracted a large audience.  Steve Goodwin, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences, Michael Malone, Vice Chancellor of Research and Engagement, Massachusetts State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, and CS Chair Lori Clarke welcomed the group with a bit of the CS history.  The day's talks included:

  • "Expanding Horizons in Computing" with Jim Kurose, distinguished professor of computer science at UMass Amherst; alumnus Henning Schulzrinne, CTO of the Federal Communications Commission; Bob Sproull, chair of the National Academies Computer Science and Telecommunications Board; and alumnus Steve Vinter, Engineering Director at Google.  
  • "Computing as a Core Subject in a 21st Century Education" with Jan Cuny of NSF; Ann Drobnis, director of Computing Community Consortium at Computing Research Association; Kelly Powers, chair of the computer science department at Boston's Advanced Math and Science Academy; and Cameron Wilson of the Association for Computing Machinery, also CEO of Code.org
  • "Computing Across the Campus" with Peter Bloniarz, dean of the college of computing and information at the University of Albany-SUNY; alumnus Edmund Durfee of the University of Michigan; and Patricia Galvis-Assmus, professor of art at UMass Amherst.
  • "Computing Research" with alumnus Eric Brown, director, Watson Technologies at IBM Research; Yanlei Diao, professor of computer science at UMass Amherst; and alumnus Matt Rattigan, Obama for America analytics team.

On Friday evening, Senator Rosenberg presented the citation during dinner.  Alumnus Vinter gave a keynote speech launching the Computer Science community drive to encourage more CS alums to become engaged with the School.

On Saturday, October 19, children and adults spent the morning working on their wearable computing creations and interacted with the U-bot robot.

"The event was a great success," says Clarke. "Many came from across campus, across the Commonwealth, and, for one alum, from across the world to attend our celebration events. We are looking forward to the next 50 years."

View photos from the Celebration.