Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720
ATANASOFF TO RECEIVE HONORARY DEGREE AT ISU COMMENCEMENT;
MORE THAN 2,500 STUDENTS TO RECEIVE DEGREES
AMES, Iowa -- More than 2,500 Iowa State students will celebrate the completion of degree programs, and former faculty member John Vincent Atanasoff will be recognized posthumously with an honorary degree during Iowa State University commencement events next weekend, May 5-6. Tickets are not needed for any of the three ceremonies.
About 275 masters degrees, 90 doctoral degrees and one (education) specialist degree will be awarded at the graduate college commencement ceremony at 8 p.m. Friday, May 5, in Stephens Auditorium.
Chemistry professor Dennis Johnson, who also serves as a senior chemist at Ames Laboratory, will give the address. Johnson was named a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences last year and has won numerous awards as both teacher and researcher.
In another Stephens ceremony, 100 veterinary medicine students will receive their D.V.M. awards at noon Saturday, May 6. Dr. James Kramer, who received his D.V.M. from Iowa State in 1982 and currently serves as president of the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association, will give the address. Kramer practices veterinary medicine in Fullerton, Neb.
The undergraduate commencement event begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. An estimated 2,100 students are earning bachelors degrees this semester.
John Vincent Atanasoff II, president, CEO and chairman of the board of Colorado Medtech Inc., Boulder, and son of the late inventor, will address the students. Colorado Medtech sells diagnostic and therapeutic medical products, software and related services. An engineer by training, Atanasoff received his bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State.
The younger Atanasoff also will accept an honorary doctorate degree of science for his dad, who died in 1995.
The elder Atanasoff and his graduate student, Clifford Berry, built the worlds first electronic digital computer in the Physics Hall basement during the period 1939 to 1942. The Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) has withstood the test of time the basic principles of the ABC still are used in nearly every computer today.
Atanasoff was called to serve in World War II and his invention remained in the Physics basement, eventually dismantled and scavenged for parts. Recognition for his invention eluded Atanasoff until a celebrated court case in 1973. Federal Judge Earl Larson overturned the patent of the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) and wrote that the ENIAC's inventors "did not themselves first invent the automatic electronic digital computer, but instead derived it from one Dr. John Vincent Atanasoff."
For more information about ISU commencement events, call (515) 294-9372.
Colleges will honor their graduating students at receptions Friday and Saturday. A schedule of all commencement events follows.
Saturday, May 6
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