A Salute to Ken Olsen

Tribute to a national technology icon
June 17, 2006
by Cyndi McMahon

WENHAM, MA-Today Gordon College broke ground for its state-of-the-art Ken Olsen Science Center as former Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) employees gathered on the North Shore campus to pay tribute to Ken Olsen-one of the 20th century's leading pioneers in computer science and founder of the company.

Gordon College, host of the Salute to Ken Olsen, named the 80,000 square-foot science center after Olsen in recognition of his contributions to both the students and the academic community of Gordon. Olsen, a long time supporter of the College, first joined Gordon's Board of Trustees in 1961.

The tribute began with a service in the 1200-seat A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. The pews were filled with former DEC employees, technology and business leaders, and computer innovators. They all gathered with one mission in mind-to say thank you.

"Gordon College is deeply grateful Ken Olsen has allowed us to have this day of festivities in his honor," said R. Judson Carlberg, President of Gordon College. "Ken Olsen has deliberately avoided the spotlight and recognition for his contributions to others. I firmly believe his commitment to servant leadership is the reason there has been no end to what he has accomplished and continues to accomplish through projects such as the Ken Olsen Science Center."

Other highlights included Maynard Selectman Robert Nadeau's Commendation on behalf of the Town of Maynard that June 17 was approved as Ken Olsen Day for the contributions Olsen and Digital Equipment Corporation brought to the community during the company's tenure at the "Old Mill" location. Other speakers included Robert Everett, former president of MITRE Corporation who worked with Olsen on first-generation computer technology during their early days at MIT; Dr. Armand Nicholi, author and professor at Harvard medical school, Gordon Trustee Emeriti and spiritual advisor to Olsen; and Win Hindle, retired senior vice president of Digital Equipment Corporation. Over two thousand people registered for tickets to attend the Salute to Ken Olsen.

A ceremonial groundbreaking took place immediately after the tribute followed by a reception with live music from the 21 piece Compaq Big Band-originally started as the DEC Big Band.

The Ken Olsen Science Center is the College's most ambitious building endeavor to date and will feature research and instructional space dedicated to science and technology. The Ken Olsen Science Center will also include the Digital Equipment Corporation Loggia of Technology-A breathtaking lobby for the Science Center featuring Olsen's personal memorabilia from Digital Equipment Corporation. The Digital Equipment Corporation Loggia of Technology will also feature many of Olsens' and DEC's contributions to the history of the computer industry. Construction of the Ken Olsen Science Center is expected to take 18 months.

For information on the Ken Olsen Science Center, contact Dan Tymann, Gordon College Vice President for the Advancement of Science and Technology at 978.867.4204. The Ken Olsen Science Center is central to the College's Heart of Discovery Campaign-a $30 million dollar campaign to provide a state-of-the-art science center to educate the next generation of Christians for the challenges of science and technology discovery at Gordon College.

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