Robert McKie

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Following graduation I applied for Naval Officer Candidate School and was awaiting my induction date when I received a call from Syracuse University offering me a graduate assistantship. I withdrew my application for OCS and began my “accidental” career in Computer Science.

After six years at Syracuse I worked for the Air Force for a number of years, was recruited by IBM, and moved to the Hudson Valley to work for Academic Information Systems. I later moved to Massachusetts with that group and was fortunate to be appointed as a Visiting Engineer at MIT to work at “Project Athena”. There I collaborated with people from MIT, Digital Equipment and IBM , developing many computing concepts that are in common use today, such as cloud data storage, the X Windows system, network software installation, and presentation of video-based courseware on a user’s “desktop”. Keep in mind that this was begun in 1983 when very little of the hardware and software needed to accomplish these things was available on the consumer market, so we had to build much of it ourselves.

When Athena concluded, I moved to the IBM Cambridge Scientific Center, then retired from IBM to work at a series of startup companies, none of which survive today. After the last startup I took what I believed would be a short-term job at the Surgical Planning Lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, found the environment to be much like I had enjoyed at MIT, and stayed until I retired as IT Director in 2013.

My wife Nancy and I were married in 1997. We have a Golden Retriever “Cooper”, who is the latest of six that I have had since my days at Syracuse. Nancy still works part-time at Massachusetts General Hospital. We vacation in the Adirondacks, Vermont and Maine, so long as the rental is “pet-friendly.”

I have retired from competitive sailing in Star class boats, which I began in high school and continued in college and later here in Boston, even sailing a couple of times with C. Stanley Ogilvy. Truth be known, it was my desire to sail with Stan, then a math professor at Hamilton, that influenced me to major in math.

I recently retired “Cooper” from field training and hunt tests, and I now shoot trap and sporting clays once or twice a week with one of my old sailing friends.

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