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Mainframe to Mobile App: 50 Years of Computing at IUP

November 30, 2012
Appeared in the
Fall-Winter 2012 issue of IUP Magazine

Since the first IBM mainframe was installed in Clark Hall in 1963, computing has evolved at lightning speed and brought huge changes to IUP, from the end of arena registration to the imminent launch of a mobile app.

1968 computing center

Computer center employees Kenneth Shildt, left, and Maurice Fox in 1968 in the machine room in Sutton Hall’s basement. The IBM mainframe computer on the left was IUP’s second.

“A Model 1620 electronic computer recently installed at Indiana State College will provide students and faculty with both an instructional device and a research tool.”

So read the announcement of the college’s foray into computer technology with the July 1963 arrival of an IBM mainframe. The news came not on the front, but on page 16 of that October’s Alumni News Bulletin.

Although it was “little more than a footnote to the surge of growth at ISC at the time, it was the first step in what has become an incredible 50-year journey,” said Bill Balint ’88, chief information officer at the school now known as IUP.

In recognition of this golden anniversary, IUP Magazine presents a look at the history of computing at the university.

  • 1963: Indiana State College enlarges computer center in the basement of Clark Hall. Director Anna Wink is the first computer professional hired.

  • 1964: First disk drive is added. For the first time, computers are mentioned in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs. President Willis Pratt writes in the yearbook that the computer center is one of only two at state colleges.

  • 1965: Kenneth Shildt is hired as the first computer center assistant director. He later becomes a Management Information Systems faculty member.

  • 1966: First online printer is added.

  • 1967: New computer center opens, occupying nine rooms in the basement of Sutton Hall.

  • 1968: The School of Business, established just two years earlier, offers two new computer technology concentrations. Math Department offerings grow to nine computer-related courses.

  • 1968: More than 400 students are enrolled in computer-related courses, up from 60 five years earlier.

  • 1972: Computer Science separates from the Mathematics Department. Howard Tompkins is the first department chair; James Maple is the first faculty member, transferring from Mathematics a week before Tompkins arrives in Indiana.

  • 1976: Basement of newly built Stright Hall becomes computer center’s new home.

  • 1984: Computer center becomes Information Systems and Communications Center. Among its first service offerings is e-mail.

  • 1985: President John Welty announces the first major purchase of personal computers: $200,000 in PCs for the faculty.

  • 1987: Registration by touch-tone telephone is piloted to a group of randomly selected students and fully implemented the following year, ending waiting times associated with arena registration and other methods.

  • 1988: IUP joins BITNET, an academic network predating the Internet, allowing employees and students to interact via computer with users and resources beyond campus. The first computer executive is hired: Garrett Bozylinsky, associate vice president for computing.

  • 1991: IUP obtains first Internet connection; bandwidth is 56 KB/second (0.56 MB). The Cosmos administrative information system goes live, effectively ending 28 years of mainframe computing at IUP.

  • 1993: Registration via computer terminal is added to telephone registration.

  • 1997: First university-wide website is launched.

  • 1998: IUP starts implementation of Banner, the software system still used to manage business operations. Criminology professor Robert Mutchnick offers Crime and Justice Systems as an online hybrid course.

  • 1999: IUP offers its first fully online courses.

  • 2000: Students begin registering for classes using a Web browser.

  • 2001: Establishment of the Student Technology Fee leads to growth in instructional technology, including multimedia classrooms and advanced computer labs.

  • 2007: Information technology functions become centralized under IT Services. The IT Support Center, providing tech support to students and employees, opens in the building to be named Delaney Hall. The center handles more than 100,000 service requests in its first five years.

  • 2008: IUP pilots the Winter Session, offering solely online courses over a three-week period during winter break.

  • 2010: IUP is chosen to be one of 13 core nodes across the state for PennREN, a high-speed computer network designed to connect national networks with regional and local networks in Pennsylvania.

  • 2011: Eight percent of courses are offered online.

  • 2012: IUP prepares to launch a mobile application for tablets and smartphones. A new Web portal, through which students and employees will be able to access university applications, is under development for a spring 2013 unveiling.

1977 Oak Mainframe in Stright Hall80s Computing
90s ComputingSociology Students computer lab2012 IT Services 

More Statistics

Internet bandwidth at IUP over the years:

  • 1991: 0.56 MB
  • 2000: 10 MB
  • 2006: 120 MB
  • 2011: 600 MB

Raw disk storage: 584 terabytes

Record number of devices connected to IUP computer network at one time: 15,507 (November 2012)

Record number of wireless devices connected to network at one time: 7,507 (November 2012)

History of the most wireless devices active on IUP network at once:

  • 2006: 107
  • 2009: 1,320
  • 2010: 2,600
  • 2012: 7,507

Average number of monthly visits to the website: 760,000

IUP Facebook fans: 21,490 (as of November 2012)

IUP Twitter followers: 3,873 (as of November 2012)

More from the Fall-Winter 2012 Issue of IUP Magazine

Lesson Plan: Teacher Diversity

Lesson Plan: Teacher Diversity

IUP leads a coalition addressing the national shortage of African American male schoolteachers.

Young Donors

Young Donors

Students are boosting their IUP philanthropy. What gives?


Message from the President

Several principles will guide us as we formulate together our vision of the future IUP.

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors 

Photo Gallery | In Brief | Letters to the Editor

The Press and the Passion

Susan Snyder ’85 on winning the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

Crimson Core

Alumni Association Board Officers, and how they got that way.

The Long-Shot Season

In 1979, the soccer team was sinking. Then came Trevor.

Web Exclusives

Silent Generation at College

Bob Henger ’63 devotes a chapter of his book to his years at Indiana State College.

Unboxing the Memories

Some of the more unusual memorabilia that alumni have lovingly donated to IUP.