Computer Science 50th Anniversary Celebration

Thank you to all who attended the celebration. Over 200 chose to participate and create the atmosphere for a great celebration. It was wonderful to see past faculty and alumni coming together to reconnect and reminisce. The current faculty and staff truly appreciate each and everyone of you and hope that you will feel free to visit any time! 

50 year of CS department image

Schedule of Events

Thursday, November 7, 2019

3:00pm:      Check-in, Alumni Reconnecting starts
3:30pm:      Campus tours start

6:00pm:      Dinner & "Computer Science: Looking Back and Looking Forward” keynote by Alex Aiken '83aiken

View Dr. Aiken's Presentation

Friday, November 8, 2019

8:00am:      Check-in & breakfast
9:00am:      Alumni Reconnecting continues
9:30am:      Opening remarks
10:00am:      "Tale of an Old Fox," Dr. David Fulton, 1st Computer Science Department Chair          fulton

View Dr. Fulton's presentation

11:30am:       Lunch
1:00pm:        Afternoon program on the past, present and future of Computer Science at BGSU (more details coming)
4:00pm:       Event ends



 Marathon logo                                                           MARATHON PETROLEUM COMPANY             






Alumni Connection

The Computer Science 50th Anniversary Celebration was a chance for alumni to re-connect with the department and other alumni.

In conjunction with the anniversary event, the department had a competition for student groups to create a web based alumni connection directory.  The competition was configured using an ASF Scrum Programming in Teams (SPRINT) structure and was sponsored by Nationwide Insurance.

1st place student small

Pictured are Adam Cogar and Ben Spisak of Team 4 who had the winning online directory design and won $1,000. Other competitors included Quinton Currier, Ashley Gearheart and Alex Horning, Team 3, which finished second; Rebecca Brunner, Olivia Pennell and Samuel Teague, Team 6, placed third; and Damilare Olaleye, Team 2, placed fourth.



The Computer Science Department at BGSU was the first CS department in Ohio when it was established in 1969. Over the past 50 years, the department has grown and developed its curriculum to adapt to an ever-changing industry, and we have prepared many accomplished alumni to work in a variety of capacities throughout the industry. The department established strong relationships with area businesses and corporations who were interested in hiring graduates from the program. Long-time relationships include American Greetings, Cooper Tire, Eaton, Ernst & Young, Libbey, Marathon, Macy’s Systems, Medical Mutual, Nationwide, Owens Corning, and Progressive, which provided co-ops, internships and jobs for the students.

For 50 years, Bowling Green State University has been preparing students to be leaders in the computing industry. As the first Ohio university to offer an undergraduate degree in computer science, BGSU has been committed to providing a current, comprehensive and client-centered environment for the teaching and learning of computer science and related professional values.

Click on the decades below to reflect on how the program adapted over time.

The process to develop a curriculum was started in the early- to mid-1960s and based on ACM’s curriculum ‘68. ACM’s guidelines were meant for departments starting new undergraduate programs. Faculty from several departments on campus came together to propose a curriculum for the program, under the leadership of Dr. Charles Leone, former dean of the Graduate College and a biology professor, and Dr. David Krabill, professor of mathematics. The computer science undergraduate program was approved by the Board of Trustees in February 1969 and classes started that fall.

After a national search, Dr. David L. Fulton was hired as founding chair of the department; he hired a team of faculty members - Rick Thomas Jack Wooley and Joan Stepenski who helped provide the solid framework for the department, which was housed in the Math Science Building.

Just three years later, in 1972, the heavy demand from local and national industry for graduates with expertise in computer science convinced the Board of Trustees to approve the Master of Science in Computer Science degree and the master’s program was started. It was, again, the first program of its kind in Northwest Ohio and the second in the state. The program required 45 -50 credit hours of graduate courses (45 credit hours for Plan 1 and 50 for Plan II). 

Some of the courses offered in the early years included: Introduction to Computing (I & II), Computers and Programming, Systems Programming, Logical Foundations of Computing, Numerical Methods, Data Structures, Programming Languages, Computer Organization, Operating Systems, Language Translation Systems, Computer Graphics, Minicomputer Systems, Techniques of COBOL Programming and Techniques of Data Base Management

1975 – BGSU hosted the SIGGRAPH National Conference, which was unique compared to the other major metropolitan areas that hosted the conference. 

1977 – The BGSU ACM hosted the East Central Regional Programming Contest. Prizes and trophies were awarded to the top three teams in the competition. The first-place team earned the right to compete in the National ACM Programming Contest in Atlanta.

1978 – In a BG News article, the computer facilities were described as follows: “The major computer facilities available at BGSU are comprised of an IBM 360-75 and a UNIVAC 1110 system. Both systems have a wide range of peripherals and have facilities for both remote and time-sharing access and are used primarily for faculty research and instructional projects. In addition, the department owns two minicomputer systems (NOVA 800, NOVA 2) and two microcomputer systems (Altair 8800), these are used for faculty research and advanced student systems projects. The department has several research grants for the development of software for the NOVA, interfaced with the 360/75. There are also six other NOVA systems available on campus which have a variety of peripherals, including a 30-inch CALCOMP drum plotter.”

1980 – Dr. David Krabill was granted emeritus status in mathematics and statistics and computer science.

1981 – ACM officers included Kevin Wohlever, president; Joan Swabley, vice president; Beth Bofenkamp, secretary; and Deb Whaley, treasurer; Larry Dunning and Carol Beriswill were the faculty advisors. Events for the organization included a Myles pizza party, programming contests, meet the faculty night, a Halloween costume party, a speaker to talk about careers in computer science and math, a bake sale fundraiser, a field trip to a graphics lab at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, and attending the ACM CS Conference in Indianapolis. Annual dues were $2.50 per person.

1982 – BGSU switched from quarters to semesters, resulting in significant revisions to courses and degree requirements. 

1983 – President Paul J. Olscamp (1982-1995) established a technology initiative on campus to replace the keypunch machines that were used on campus, allegedly the only state university that still used them at the time. By fall 1983, all keypunch machines were replaced in a university-wide initiative to upgrade computing equipment and the computing capacity at BGSU was doubled. There was a financial consequence that impacted the ACM chapter on campus: when keypunch cards were used, ACM wrapped and sold them as a fundraiser for the organization.

1985 –A BG News article (Jan. 18), reported on students’ interest in receiving lab credit for their computer science labs similar to what science labs do.  This proposal was never implemented.

1987 – ACM Officers for the school year included Lloyd Palmer, president; Lori Schaffers, vice president; Michelle Laslo, secretary; Jeff Wiles, treasurer. Mohammad Dadfar and Chip Copper served as faculty advisors. Among the events throughout the year were Computer Date Party, Programming Contest, volleyball with faculty, speakers’ T-shirt sales. Dues were $5 per semester and $10 for the year.

1988 (April 12) - The Computer Science Department’s Program Excellence site review was held.

1988 –President Paul Olscamp wanted a new technology initiative and created Project-90 to upgrade and modernize the university’s administrative computing capabilities. This wide-ranging project updated virtually all of the university’s administrative support software, including Registration and Records, Bursar, Finance Payroll, Human Resources, Student Housing and more. Dr. Ron Lancaster, CS faculty member, was chosen as the director of this project which lasted from 1989-1994.

1990 – The department won the Ohio Board of Regents Program Excellence Award and a grant of $235,289. The program was part of the state’s Selective Excellence strategy to provide incentives to advance strong academic programs and the undergraduate and graduate levels which address strategic needs of the state, including quality of life. The grant was to enhance the basic research facilities and capabilities of the computer science department to conduct more software development research by establishing a state-of-the-art research laboratory to add essential research personnel and to enhance the general level of support for the exchange of research information. 

1991 – (Article in Arts and Sciences’ newsletter) The Computer Science Department was recognized for its efforts to recruit women for its graduate studies program. Dr. Mary Edmonds, then  vice president of Student Affairs and a graduate of Spelman College, and Dr. Ann-Marie Lancaster, then chair of the department, and Dr. Lee Miller, former faculty member, worked to recruit Spelman graduates to attend BGSU’s master’s program in computer science. One of those students, Iretta Kearse, was the first black student to receive a master’s degree in computer science at BGSU. 

1992 – The department moved to Hayes Hall from the Math Science Building. Faculty went from sharing office spaces to having private offices and the department had its own independent labs, as well as a graphics lab. CS industry helped the project by providing some of the equipment that allowed the department to do things that couldn’t be done before. “Life was a lot easier with adequate space,” said Ron Lancaster. 

1993 – The Toledo chapter of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) presented its Corporate Support of the Year Award to the BGSU Computer Science Department. The department was honored for their concern with the growth and direction of students. The department aided the BDPA Jr. Computer Club by providing access to the Computer Training Center in Maumee, supplied computer books, and also hosted the statewide competition for African American computer students.

1994 – The department was allocated a budget for maintaining/upgrading technology; more resources meant the department could do more things for students and faculty.

2008 - The Agile Software Faculty, ASF ( was created. The primary goal of the ASF is to actively engage the community, locate partners for student projects, and foster corporate cooperation to cultivate the skills students need to excel in industry.

2008 - BGSU Women in Computing (BGWIC) was created to support young women pursuing careers in computing fields.

2013 – The Board of Trustees approved a Master of Science in Analytics degree, an interdisciplinary program (Applied Statistics and Operations Research within the Schmidthorst College of Business, the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics and Statistics within the College of Arts and Sciences). 

2014 - The Computer Science Advisory Board (CSAB) was created in 2014 with 12 corporate members. The inaugural CSAB meeting was held at BGSU Levis Commons in October 2014.

2016 (Dec. 9) – The Board of Trustees approved a Software Engineering specialization for the computer science major.

2017 (Fall) - BGSU's Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program has been fully accredited by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for 6 years.

2018 (Spring) - A new major, Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, was created and made available for students. Software Engineering is the one of the highest in-demand field in Computer Science. The major requires both computer science and software engineering courses, including: Software Architecture and Design, Software Testing and Quality Assurance, Database Management Systems, and Software Engineering Project.

2018 - The BGSU Women in Computing (BGWIC) student organization became a Student Chapter of ACM-W.

2019 (Spring) - The Digital Forensics specialization option was created and made available for computer science major. The specialization requires five specialization courses, including: Software Security, Computer Security, Computer & Mobile Forensics, Network Security & Forensics, and Law, Evidence & Procedures in Forensics Science

2019 (Fall) - The Departments of Computer Science, Mathematics & Statistics, and Applied Statistics & Operations Research have jointly created new Masters and Ph.D. in Data Science program for students to start in Fall 2019.

2019 (Fall) - A new, specialized Digital Forensics Lab is completed for students interested in cybersecurity/digital forensics courses.

2020 (Spring) - A new Computational Data Science specialization will be available for computer science major. The specialization will focus on the "computing" aspects of data science fields.



Updated: 04/22/2024 05:13PM