Amazing Grace Hopper – Happy Birthday and RIP

Professor (and later Rear Admiral) Grace Murray Hopper VC Class of 1928 Ph.f7.14 - The History of Mathematics - Vasser University

Professor (and later Rear Admiral) Grace Murray Hopper VC Class of 1928 Ph.f7.14 – The History of Mathematics – Vasser University

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.

Grace Hopper was born on December 9, 1906 and passed away on January 1, 1992.

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!

Grace Hopper - One of our favorite mottos at Google --

Grace Hopper – One of our favorite mottos at Google — “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission” — is a paraphrase of Grace Hopper, a computer scientist, inventor of the compiler, teacher and more. Each year Google participates in the Celebration of Women in Computing in her name, recognizing the strides women have made in computing and anticipating the bright future ahead. ~

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 

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:

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) –

Review: Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age, by Kurt W. Beyer –

Grace Murray Hopper – Yale

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, USNR, (1906-1992) –