PC Pioneer: Stevens Predicted a Digital Age, Requiring Computers for First-Year Students
In May of 1982, Stevens announced a bold initiative that would presage a digital revolution: a new requirement that all students pursuing degrees in either the Science or Systems Planning and Management programs must purchase personal microcomputers before enrolling.
ATARI 800 computers were initially selected for their ability to handle sophisticated mathematical and scientific analyses. The next year, Stevens extended its PC requirement to all incoming freshmen, one of the first universities in the nation to do so. The university partnered with Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) to allow students to purchase DEC's PC-325 machines at a subsidized cost.
Joe Moeller, Jr., who at the time served as associate dean of education development, predicted that the future environment for engineers, scientists and managers would be dependent on computer systems – and that Stevens should prepare students accordingly. He, and Stevens, were even more correct in their big bet on computing than they could have imagined: today Stevens faculty and students create game-changing AI, cybersecurity, modeling and blockchain technologies, and computing is an inextricable part of daily life.