WOU has completed extensive renovations to facilities for the Computer Science Division, creating the Edward B. Wright Center for Computing Sciences (EBWCCS). WOU received a commitment of $300,000 from former Oregon State Senator Frank and Linda Morse, in honor of Dr. Wright, who passed away in 2012.
A dedication ceremony and reception was held Thursday, Oct. 17 on the third floor of the Instructional Technology Center, where the new facility is located. Speakers at the ceremony included WOU President Mark Weiss, Senator Morse, Wright’s wife Marge and their daughter, Mary Jo Brock. The event was emceed by Dr. David Olsen, chair of computer science.
The generous gift from the Morses’ was used to establish a scholarship endowment in Wright’s honor for current and future students studying computer science, information systems or computer science/mathematics. Those interested in giving to the scholarship should contact the WOU Foundation at 503-838-8134.
EBWCCS is home to the Computer Science Division, following a two-year $1.3 million renovation. The center’s open floor plan contains two computer labs, a smart classroom and faculty offices. Adjacent to faculty offices are student areas designed to promote a community feel between students and faculty as well as informal seating and several large wall mounted monitors to promote collaboration on projects.
“The creation of this facility is a fitting honor for Dr. Wright,” said Olson. “During his career, he had an enormous influence on both faculty and students. He literally brought the university into the ‘computer age’.”
Wright came to WOU, then Oregon College of Education, in the summer of 1979 as the academic computing coordinator. In addition he was charged with developing a computer science major. Wright established the first computer lab on campus in the basement of the library (now the Academic Program Support Center).
In 1982, as one of the authors of the NSF CAUSE, he began offering summer workshops for faculty to integrate computers into their courses. The school began teaching courses, which would apply to the major in computer science in 1980. In 1984, WOU hired its first assistant professor of computer science. At that time, Wright served as the department chair for Computer Science. The first class graduated in June 1985. He was also instrumental in the conversion of the Campus Elementary School into the Instructional Technology Center as well as the hiring of most of the current faculty in the division.
Wright, who retired in 1999, continued teaching part time until 2003. He also worked as a policy advisor to Morse, who said of Wright, “He was an invaluable source of insight in the creation of public policy.”
To view all images from the reception go to our flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wounews/sets/72157637671697714/