It is with great pride in what “Amazing Grace” Hopper accomplished for computer science and women and the Navy, that I wish her a Happy Birthday and may she rest in peace on what would have been her 107th birthday today, December 9th.
According to the article at Time regarding the Google Doodle Honors Grace Hopper, Early Computer Scientist, Grace created COBOL, is credited with coining the phrase ‘bug in the system’, was a very good teacher making things easy to understand in normal terms like using a piece of wire to represent the distance electricity would travel in a nanosecond:
In addition, according to the Time article, she also became the oldest woman in the armed forces at the age of 76!
In the “Full text of “Valley: Lebanon Valley College Magazine“, Grace is quoted as saying,
“The best life plan you can make is to be aware” says Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, who delivered the Commencement address to the Class of 1987. Hopper was presented the Honorary Doctor of Science degree during the festivities.
“You are the future of this country, and all of what we are trying to do will lie in your hands.”
~ Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
The text itself is well worth reading and is pretty long, so here’s just one small section of it regarding Grace Hopper:
Navy on the leading edge of computer technology. Since 1952, Hopper has published more than 50 papiers and articles on computer soft- ware and programming languages. She was a leader in the development of the COBOL computer language and has served on the ANSI X3.4 Committee on the standardization of computer languages. She also serves on the CODASYL Executive Committee. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar College were she received a Vassar College Fellowship. She continued her education at Yale University where she earned an M.A. in 1930, and a Ph.D. in 1934, together with elec- tion to Sigma Xi and the receipt of two Sterl- ing Scholarships. She attended New York University as a Vassar Faculty Fellow in 1941. During her career. Hopper taught at several colleges and universities, including Vassar College, Barnard College, Harvard Universi- ty, the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University. At her retirement ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Constitution in Boston, Navy Secretary John F. Lehman, Jr presented Hop- per with the Distinguished Service Medal. More than 40 colleges and universities have conferred honorary degrees on her, and she has been honored by her peers on several oc- casions. She was the recipient of the first Computer Sciences "Man of the Year" award given by the Data Processing Management Association. Her entry in "Who's Who" takes 34 lines to thumbnail her accomplishments, appointments and honors. Upon retirement from the Navy, Admiral Hopper became a Senior Consultant for the Digital Equipment Corporation in Washington, D.C. Before Admiral Hopper finished her ad- dress, she left the graduating class a promise. "If during the next five years any one of you says, 'but we've always done it that way,' 1 will instantly materialize beside you, and I will haunt you for 24 hours and see if I can get you to take another look. And 1 know it works. I've already had over 100 letters thanking me for haunting people."
Grace Hopper was indeed an “Amazing Grace”. You will be missed and remembered, Grace. Rest in peace.
The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.”
~ Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, USNR, (1906-1992)
Here are just a few additional articles of note and sites about “Amazing Grace” Hopper: