Question from the Dean: You Spoke
Selections from your responses about the technology you brought to College—and more to come!Posted September 24, 2008, 11:34 AM EST
When I arrived at U.Va. in 1938, I brought my Polaroid camera.
Lester Van Middlesworth (B.S. Chemistry ’40, M.S. Chemistry ’42, M.S. Physiology ’44)
When I went to Virginia the first fall the most exciting technology everybody brought was the pencil. It was so much cleaner and convenient than the pieces of charcoal we had to write with at that time. Of course, the pencil sharpener had not been developed then as it naturally followed the development of the pencil, so you can imagine the mess on the Lawn and in the classrooms from pencil shavings.
Charles Leys (College ’48)
PalmPilots? iPods? iPhones? Whatthahellaryoutalkingabout? I brought pencils, fountain pen (no ball points then) and a secondhand portable typewriter, (circa 1940). My most important “technology,” though, was a beat up black, wind-up alarm clock, purloined from my grandmother. As a GI Bill-er, recently returned from infantry combat in Europe, there would be no “Gentleman’s C” for me. Get up early on week days. Study hard. Get back to the real world I’d never really known as quickly as possible.
I made a deal with my two roommates, both GI-ers, but too late for the free ocean cruise. No alarm clock on Sundays. Sundays were sacred ... sobering up time from Saturdays. OK, I could buy that. I had made a pledge to myself, after all: No studying on Saturday nights.
Then, one Sunday morning, calamity! My grandmother’s clock rang loud and clear. “Get up, get up, you sleepy heads! Greet this beautiful Sunday morn!” I had forgotten to turn the damn thing off! Bedlam (pun not intended)! Roommate Jack Strang was teetering over the end of his upper bunk, golf club in hand, flailing away, ineffectively, at the clock. Roommate Lee Laybourne buried himself deep in his pillow. “My grandmother's clock,” I screamed, throwing myself in protection between it and golf club, fumbling for the turn off button. Jack, mumbling unkind words about my clock, my grandmother and me, finally pulled covers up and returned to sleep.
We gave the clock a decent burial.
I do not believe Jack had a portable typewriter.
In January, 1958, Lee Laybourne, now deceased, flew over to Asuncion, Paraguay, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with his wife, Peggy, where he was stationed as a vice consul, to be my best man for my marriage to the most beautiful woman in the world fifty years and eight month ago. We still have get-togethers with the Strangs and other Peters Hall veterans, but less frequently these days. I now have a battery powered travelers alarm clock, black, which I set for 6:30 each night, then wake up each morning at 6:25 to turn off. After all, at 85, a certified WWII hero, and a veteran of the Charlottesville wars, do I deserve less?
George H. Thigpen (Foreign Affairs ’49)
In my day, ballpoint pens and mechanical pencils were considered high tech—how did we ever manage?
Richard Dilworth (College ’51)
I came to Charlottesville from Richmond in the fall of 1947 with two suitcases, fountain pen, portable radio and a portable manual typewriter. Along the way during my seven years at the University I acquired a desk lamp, eyeglasses, shoe brush, handball gloves and a convertible automobile.
Daniel Rosenbloom (Economics ’51, Law ’54)
In 1947 when I began at The University the only “technology” I brought was my head, a pen and a slide rule. Even calculators were not around.
William O. Wheeler (College ’51)
In 1948, a few students (all engineers) had slide rules—as a townie, I lived in a house with a telephone, a phonograph (even 45 and 33 rpms and mostly 78s) and a small radio given to me as a graduation-from-high-school gift, which sometimes received farther than WCHV.
John S. Fletcher (College ’52, MD ’55)
In 1949, I entered the College wearing a coat and tie (required) and carrying a fountain pen, a pencil and a loose-leaf notebook. That was the totality of my “technology.” After graduating, I entered the U.Va. medical school wearing a coat and tie and carrying a fountain pen, pencil and loose-leaf notebook. I wish I could do it again and learn as much as today’s doctors do, but I doubt if I could accomplish what today’s students achieve, even if I could be in my 20s again.
Charles H. Gleason (College ’52, Pediatric Medicine Residency ’60)
It was the fall of 1948. My “technology” was a No. 2 pencil, a fountain pen, a notebook and most importantly ... an inquiring mind.
H.W. Knight (Economics ’52, Law ’55)
I started at U. Va. in the Fall of 1947 after being in the Navy for 3 years. I had no idea what I would need so I brought a Shaefer ink pen and a lined pad. There were no ball point pens in those days. I was in line at 5:00 AM to sign up for the classes I wanted and was able to get them all on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I had the weekends off. That was a bad choice as I had too much work to do to get ready for classes on those days.
Allen F. (Buddy) Voshell, Jr. (College ’52)
1949—A portable Royal typewriter. I think, maybe a small radio. That’s it!!
Henry Minich (College ’53)
I brought one broken-down old portable radio, notebook paper, a few pencils, one pen (not ballpoint), a camera (which someone stole), memorized multiplication tables, the ability to diagram sentences. That’s about all. Guess what? It was enough!
Bennett Cole (Foreign Affairs ’54)
We had no real “Technology,” not even a calculator. The E-School students were still using slide rules.
I did have a record player and a 40-watt amplifier. That is about as close as I came to “technology.”
Dr. Donald J. Kenneweg (College ’54, MD ’58)
When I entered U.Va. in the fall of 1951, we were very high-tech. We used pencils, pens, paper, pay phones, radios and occasionally borrowed typewriter access (manual, no electrics). Fortunately, the Cavalier Daily staff had all of these available! Best of all, we had no mechanical or electronic glitches or delayed wait times!
Breck Arrington (College ’55, Law ’61)
I arrived at the University in the fall of 1951 with a circa 1935 Underwood typewriter. It was bulky and heavy, and as the old saying goes, “It took two men and a small boy to lift it.”
John V. Prestia (Chemistry ’55)
Just pen and paper and enough money to get to the bookstore. How simple things were then in ’53-’56.
Maury Brassert (College ’56)
Pencil, paper and my brain
David Colescott (Economics ’56)
Loose leaf notebook, pencils and ball point pens.
Henry Frazier (Government ’56)
The technology that I brought to UVA in 1957 was a slide rule, pencil
& paper, and a goose neck lamp.
Mary Kay Cabell (MA Mathematics ’57, PhD Mathematics ’60)
I arrived in the fall of 1953 with only two pieces of technology—a 45 rpm record player and a tabletop AM radio. The high-tech slide rule was purchased at U.Va. I doubt if the courses and homework problems have changed much for the basic courses since then. Same as now though—what we did not have we did not miss—and we never missed having a good time.
Captain Claude C. Cross, USN (Ret) (Mathematics ’57)
A ballpoint pen and a portable typewriter.
Roger Ramm (Economics ’57)
Fall of 1954: a Remington typewriter—brand new—in a cloth-covered, wooden case, a
Sheaffer fountain pen and a notepad, all of which I still have and still use ... although the notepad is new. And, of course, a dictionary.
That’s it. Life was indeed blessedly simple and quietly blissful then....
Jan Bakker (College ’58, MA English Language and Literature ’61)
The only technology we brought was a slide rule and a transistor radio.
Jack Cherin (College ’58)
When I entered the College of Arts & Sciences at Mr. Jefferson’s University, I arrived with clothes, linens, other necessary supplies and very little otherwise.
I had a portable Underwood typewriter that served me well during four years at U.Va. and thereafter in graduate school.
How very lucky today’s students are to have computers and a host of electronic assists that we had no access to in 1954.
Thank you for your e-mail. Having visited the University in March 2007 for a reunion at the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society and again in May 2008 for induction into the Jefferson Society of Alumni, I have a full appreciation of the exceptional differences between 1954-1958 and 2008.
Charles Sydnor Cook, Jr. (English Language and Literature ’58)
A pencil, well-sharpened, and a pen and ink well.
Jay Fraser (College ’58)
They were low-tech times. In September 1954, I arrived with fountain pens (much faster for taking notes), a clipboard and note paper. I purchased at one of the Corner stores a desk lamp with fluorescent bulb. I still have the latter in a guest room and after all these years, it and the bulb still work. Americans built things to last in those days.
Paul G. Halpern (History ’58)
Well, in 1956, it was a big ol’ Keuffel & Esser slide rule and a very nice study lamp with the gooseneck stand and the conical shade with the on-off switch on the end!!
Perry Holcomb (MA Chemistry ’58, PhD ’60)
I graduated from Hampden-Sydney in 1952 and remember as a science major I carried around a slide rule. After the army, mostly in Germany, and some time in business in Richmond, Va., I entered the graduate program in history at U.Va. in 1957 and had a small portable Smith Corona typewriter. My slide rule days were gone forever. Computers were in the future and I still struggle some with them even now. My major professor was Edward Younger, who held your post for some years after I received my Ph.D. in 1963. Your recent predecessor, Edward Ayers, was also a history professor and now heads the University of Richmond, my hometown. Good luck with the Wahoos.
Nash Boney (MA History ’60, PhD ’63)
Technology? In the fall of 1957 I entered with a K&E slide rule, pencil, paper and yes ... an eraser. The eraser was for missed strokes on my Olympia Manual “portable” typewriter. That’s all, folks!
Hugh B. Hodges (Government ’61)
In September 1958, I brought my portable (not laptop) typewriter and soon purchased a K&E Duplex Log Log Decitrig slide rule (which I still have, btw)!
James R. Brett (History ’62)
If my trunk had pencil and paper, I forgot. Not even a radio! Fall 1958. Basically, I had shoes, socks, shirts, ties and underwear and of course a blazer. That’s it!!!
George Debnam (Economics ’62)
Binoculars (for bird watching)
(might have had a protractor ... can’t remember at my age)
David I. White Jr. (Sociology ’62)
Enjoyed reading about you in the recent alumni mag.
Let’s see: fall of 1957 ... a Smith Corona (for typing, not to drink), a reel-to-reel tape recorder, rather pricey as I recall ... the phone in Page House was down the hall.
While working on my dissertation in education early in 1970, I needed to do a test for normalcy on my data. I was obliged to rent a hand-cranked adding machine—rather hefty—to crunch my numbers. As far as I knew at the time, there was nothing at U.Va. I might use to do the task.
By 1990, my Armitron wristwatch could do more than that adding machine.
James Brewbaker (College ’63, MEd ’70, PhD ’72)
None. No pencils, paper, books or musical instruments, either. My most important “software” was a drive to learn, to experience as much and to express as much intellectually and to expand my capabilities by effort and discipline as I could. My goal was to understand the purpose of it all. My thoughts were still largely dependent upon my upbringing, but gradually, during my third year or so, began to be more “my own”—then it became more a questioning of the experience.
George Frothingham (English Language and Literature ’63)
When I returned to the Grounds to begin each academic year, my high-tech instruments consisted of a few pencils, erasers and notebooks. Most of us didn’t have or even know much about hand-held calculators or PCs. There was a rumor that U.Va. had a computer, and it was thought to be in the basement of the Engineering Building, but I didn’t know anybody who’d actually seen it. No one I knew ever dreamed of a cell phone. I sometimes think back as to how I ever accomplished anything without today’s high-tech tools.
William Lang (Anthropology, Sociology ’63)
Two No. 2 pencils, an alarm clock and lots of blank notebooks! They didn’t have affordable pocket calculators in 1959. We also wore coats and ties, so my blue blazer and “penny” loafers got lots of show time!
Jack Williams (College ’63)
In 1960, a manual typewriter was the only equipment. But somehow we were still able to communicate just fine!
Charles Abbott (College ’64)
Although my grandchildren thought I used an abacus and quill pens, I started engineering school with an Underwood portable typewriter and a slide rule. After my first year, I abandoned the slide rule because I transferred to the College where I could continue using my fingers for math.
Cecil Franklin (Government ’64)
A Royal portable typewriter.
Edward Real (College ’64)
I brought a fountain pen and pencils. We didn’t have any electronic devices except bulky portable radios.
Yours from the Paleolithic Era,
Larry Gold (College ’65, Law ’68)
(1) three No. 2 yellow pencils
(2) an old Parker ballpoint pen
(3) several spiral bound notebooks (The college-ruled kind, not those old fat-line high school ones.)
(4) A simple (entry-level) slide rule
(5) I did have a transistor radio but there were only two AM radio stations in town— WINA and WCHV
(6) And—there was a big, black pay telephone that ate up all of your change at the end of the hall.
(7) Oh, yes, fourth year I got a brand new Smith Corona Electric portable typewriter to replace the 30-pound, Royal manual I had been using. Corraseble Bond typing paper was the single-greatest technological development during my time as a student—no more eraser holes in my many, many pages written.
Someone told me there was a big Xerox machine in Alderman Library, but I didn’t find it until fourth year.
During the spring of that year I got a tour of what I believe was the big Univac computer that occupied most of Garrett Hall, but I had no idea of its use or why anyone would want one—I was an English major!!!
Larry Hope (English Language and Literature ’65)
In September 1960, I did not even have a manual typewriter! Cell phones, calculators and laptops weren’t invented yet. It was high tech to have a slide rule and a mechanical pencil!
Peter E. Laux (Psychology ’65)
In 1961, I brought a slide rule with me. When I got to graduate school in 1965 (U. Delaware), we were still using mechanical calculators for statistical problems.
Malcolm P. Levin, Ph.D. (Biology ’65)
University of Illinois at Springfield
My technology? An Underwood 5 manual typewriter, a small portable radio and a roll of quarters for the pay telephone mounted on the outside balcony of Courtenay House.
Paul L. Gaston (MA English Language and Literature ’66, PhD English Language and Literature ’70)
Pencil—probably bought the slide rule once I got there.
Reed Underhill (Psychology ’66)
September 1963—I brought a clock radio and a wristwatch.
Frank Benser (Foreign Affairs ’67)
When I was a student I felt quite fortunate to have a portable, manual typewriter. I do not consider myself to be that old, but we did not even have hand-held calculators!
Bob Berry (College ’67)
In fall 1967, I brought a Motorola AM-FM radio, a KLH record player and a heavy Remington manual typewriter. I did not have a telephone, even when I finished work for my doctorate in 1970.
Harold Brown (MA English Language and Literature ’67, PhD English Language and Literature ’70)
In the fall of 1965, I brought a few pens and purchased some spiral notebooks at the University Bookstore. The Alderman Road dorms were relatively new and the only phone was a pay phone at the “castle,” where the only TV could be found. A couple of students in our suite had record players around which we gathered to hear the Beatles’ new release: Rubber Soul.
John H. Cassady III (Sociology ’67, Law ’70)
In 1963, I brought a typewriter, paper and pen.
Thomas G. Faulkner III (English Language and Literature ’67)
As much as I hate to admit, technology for a student in 1963-67 consisted of television (but not much to watch in Charlottesville!), stereo equipment, and a typewriter (electric was available). Transistors were around, so the vacuum tube was gone by then. Multiple copies meant carbon paper! The only computer I used was the school main frame with punch cards. I was adept with the slide rule and logarithm tables.
My dad and I regularly communicated by sending tape cassettes back and forth. I bet electricity consumption per student was much less in the ’60s than now.
Kenneth Harkavy (College ’67)
As I recall, my most prized technological possessions as a first-year man arriving at LeFevre in the fall of 1963 were:
My K+E Dual Log, Decitrig slide rule
My grandfather’s 1910 typewriter (this would also get me through Columbia graduate school in the ’70s)
My immersion heater coil, for hot water/coffee by the cup
We didn’t worry about telephones—there was a pay phone at the end of each hall (!)
Rick Schlegel (College ’67)
The closest things to “technology” were: a typewriter, a transister radio, and believe it or not a reel to reel tape recorder. (1962)
Edward Shepherd (College ’67)
“Technology in 1963”—1) Books 2) Notebooks 3) Slide rule 4) Highlighter marker. That’s it!
Howard Trent (Biology ’67)
I came to the University in the fall of 1963 with a slide rule; a portable typewriter; a vacuum tube radio; a mechanical travel clock; a wind-up, analog wristwatch (my high school graduation present from my parents); and a two-tube, fluorescent desk lamp. I underlined pertinent text in my textbooks with a fountain pen and a ruler, since highlighters had not yet been invented.
Carson E. Wiedeman (College ’67)
In September 1963, I brought a very old Underwood typewriter that had been first been used in my grandfather’s dental office to send out monthly bills, and that I had used as the editor of my high school newspaper. I didn’t bother to bring my slide rule that had (just barely) gotten me through trigonometry, as I knew my math career would be limited to the one required first-year course. Music was provided by a small tabletop Motorola AM radio. I later got roommate who had a portable stereo record player, but a favorite first-year pastime was listening to LP albums while studying in the listening rooms at Newcomb Hall.
Roger C. Wiley (History ’67, Law ’70)
2 pencils, 5 pens, an alarm clock and a hip flask. [September 1964]
Anthony Geyelin (College ’68)
No technology. Nada. Just a mechanical typewriter, white-out, a good ear for “word of mouth” and an internal guidance system for locating The Cavalier Caverns, The Virginian and the ABC store at Vinegar Hill (legal age was 18).
Jack Kennard (English Language and Literature ’68, MBA ’73)
A yellow legal pad, a cartridge ink pen, a manual Royal typewriter.
We weren’t even smart enough to have backpacks, carried our books to class in our arms.
Oh yes, and the obligatory black umbrella for rainy days.
Robert Lyons (College ’68)
In my best recollection, the technology I brought to the University consisted of my Triumph Spitfire automobile in the fall of 1966. A few years after leaving the “U,” I was introduced to large mainframes which used punch cards through a federal internship and, later, in the Pentagon, to those which recorded personnel and payroll actions.
It would have been wonderful to be able to draft and redraft papers on today’s desktops and laptops.
Janet Rosselle (French Language and Literature ’68)
WOW!!! I thought about this just a few months ago. You’re free to use whatever part of this you want.
It was 1968, and I arrived by taxi at Emmet House from the Charlottesville airport. I had two huge suitcases. One contained my prize possession, a Smith Corona portable electric typewriter with an ample supply of “correction tape” and a box of “erasable” typing paper. (Ever try to use footnotes in a paper instead of endnotes—with a typewriter?) Correction tape and erasable paper were considered “cheating,” but I thought I was in the advanced technological age and was ready to argue for use of modern technology!!!!!!!! And I was really, really happy when I plugged it in and found out that the airlines had not wrecked it en route. I wish I still had it, as a souvenir. I haven’t seen a typewriter in years.
Wes Steen (English Language and Literature ’68)
An electric typewriter that ran on a huge battery!! My mother wanted me to be able to type term papers under the trees outside. (Although neither she nor I every enjoyed the outdoors that much.) This was an IBM with a carrying case, since it was portable. I’ll bet it weighed 20 pounds at least.
I also had a stereo record player. That’s about it, I think. Thanks for asking.
Philip H. Viles Jr. (Economics ’68)
Your question about the evolution of student technology over the years struck a special chord with me as our daughter has just entered her second year in the College, and I entered the College for my first year in the fall of 1965. There have been a few changes!
My room was on the first floor of Page House, and, as I recall, what greeted me was a bed and mattress, a chest of drawers, a desk and a desk chair, in addition to the commodious open “closet.” (In that respect, our daughter’s first year room in Lefevre was not greatly different!). The two pieces of “technology” I brought with me were a desk lamp, and a used office-quality electric typewriter my dad had purchased for me in about my junior year of high school. I don’t recall the brand, although it may have been Underwood. “Light-weight,” “portable,” “compact,” and “user-friendly” were not appropriate terms for this beast. It probably weighed about 25 pounds and took up a fair amount of precious space. It was far more highly evolved than the manual typewriters many other students had, however.
I used that typewriter all the way through college and law school, and it never failed me. I think I took it in for cleaning once during that time. Of course, typewriters came with a lot of baggage totally alien to our present day arsenal of electronic miracles. If you hit the wrong key, for example, you used the trusty typing eraser to eradicate the error as best you could, then typed the correct letter in the same spot. This feat was hard enough with single copies, but there were also the joys of carbon paper, and correcting multiple copies if the occasion called for it. Anyone remember “onion skin,” that flimsy stuff you used for those extra copies? Also, if, instead of dealing with a small typo, you decided to rephrase a sentence or insert a new paragraph, well, then, you just started over, at least for that page. That fact meant that you tried to arrange your thoughts pretty carefully in a hand-written draft, or in your head, before you ever put a page in the typewriter.
That was the extent of my technology inventory; not even pocket calculators had arrived on the scene in 1965. (Although I was not an “E” major, I remember that group carrying around those massive slide rules in leather scabbards hitched to their belts like a cavalry saber. I guess those were the closest things to personal computers we had in the old days.)
Thanks for your interest.
Stewart E. Farrar (Government ’69, Law ’72)
A slide ruler and a pen. Period.
Richard Randolph (College ’69)
When I came to U.Va. in 1968 it was before PCs, Palm Pilots, cell phones (let alone an iPhone), etc. My master’s thesis was done on a portable electric typewriter (current technology at the time). I agree with a saying my father, who was no fan of rose-colored glasses had, which was, “Son, the good old days are now.” That said, the fact that there were no word processors with spell/grammar check, Google, etc., did instill a level of thoughtfulness and discipline in writing and research that is currently quite lacking. While in balance the advantages of the current technology are clearly preferred, more rigor in those areas would better prepare one for a business career.
Joe Williamson (MA Economics ’69)
A slide rule.
Larry Coulson (PhD Physics ’70)
When I arrived at the University in the fall of 1960 for graduate school in foreign affairs, my only technology was nonelectronic: pens, paper, books, a radio and a record player (33 1/3 turntable). I did buy an electric typewriter in my third year so that I would no longer have to pay someone to type papers for me. So I belong to the Stone Age—or to the pen/pencil age.
Edward B. Davis (PhD Foreign Affairs ’70)
Sheila M. Davis (MA Foreign Affairs ’63, PhD Foreign Affairs ’68)
In the fall of 1966, the technology I brought to C-ville consisted of a manual typewriter—end of story. In any event, no electrical devices were allowed in the dorms other than a fan, heating coil and phonograph. No phones or TVs allowed.
Joel Gardner (History ’70, Law ’74)
I arrived at LeFevre Dorm (I believe) in the fall of 1966 with a high-intensity lamp, AM/FM radio (which mostly listened to WUVA, and I can still visualize that radio while hearing the sexiest female voice I had ever heard saying breathlessly, “I have nothing on all day but WUVA), a manual typewriter and a cartridge-style fountain pen because it was fun to write with. That’s about it for technology.
Bill Hatch (College ’70, MEd ’74)
Meredith—I arrived in Charlottesville in the fall of 1966. I brought two pieces of technology—only one of which I used. The first was a slide rule that I never figured out how to use, which probably explains why I got a D in chemistry. The second was an eight- track car stereo which slid in and out of the car, just under the dash, after being released using a key lock that was part of the frame. Then, bringing it indoors, I plugged it into some type of adaptor and speakers, and it became my home music system. It was cool!
Rick Jones (College ’70)
In September of 1966, I had no electronic gadgets! I had a slide rule!
Scott Landa (College ’70)
In the fall of 1966, a clock radio and an electric typewriter was about as technological as you could get. I was, therefore, a “techno geek.”
Rucker McCarty (Economics ’70)
In the fall of 1966, my highest form of technology brought to the Page dormitory was a portable typewriter. Our phone was a pay phone at the end of the hall. For chemistry class, a slide rule was utilized to solve problems. We have come a long way!
Paul Reid (College ’70, MEd ’71)
I think we had advanced to mechanical pencils in 1967. Maybe not.
High technology on my car was an early temperature-sensitive transistor that flashed a dashboard light, if the roadway temp was near freezing—very helpful on rides to or from Staunton.
Rich Davisson (College ’71)
1967: an alarm clock, a transistor radio, and one of those small plastic pencil sharpeners....
Bill Fryer (College ’71, Law ’74)
We BOUGHT an electric typewriter to type my husband’s dissertation!
Marleen Berry Hansen (MA Foreign Affairs ’71)
Vagn K. Hansen (MA Foreign Affairs ’69, PhD Government ’71)
Keuffel & Esser Log Log Duplex Decitrig slide rule. My father’s. Still have it.
Keith J. Kimble, M.D. (College ’71)
My high-tech item was a portable manual Olivetti Underwood typewriter. It was cool because it was some color other than black. I made beer money by typing papers for my hallmates in first floor Page House and pretty soon word got out and I had a very small business going, $3 a paper or so, but back then, that was a full meal and more at the College Inn. My own grades may have suffered as a result. They suffered for some reason.
Mark Lidman (College ’71)
Hope these help…..
Remember when fresh milk was delivered to your door and left in milk boxes? There were no word processors in undergraduate school in the late ’60s. Most of the all male student body could not type, so they hired wives of graduate students or found a “secretary” to type their papers. I used to finish my drafts late at night and leave them in the milk box by the door of the person who helped me.
Our suite in the Watson dorm was kind of a party suite. The average GPA of the suite was a 1.23 for the first semester. We needed something to play our cassette tapes on while we “studied,” so 2 of us hitchhiked 70 miles to Richmond to buy one that was $10 or $20 dollars cheaper than we could find in Charlottesville.
I bought an “electronic calculator” that had to be plugged into an outlet for my first year in the Darden School (Class of ’74) so I had to sit in the back of the room near an outlet. The calculator would add, multiply, divide and subtract – no extras! It cost $129.00 (that’s probably $600 in today’s money) and a battery operated unit was about $50 more. The finance professors still used slide rules and could often do the calculations faster than students on the new “computers.”
Stan Maupin (College ’71, Darden ’74)
When I arrived at The U in September 1967 the only “technology” I had was a three-year-old slide rule. I bought my desk lamp at one of the stores on The Corner during Orientation Week, and our counselor had the only stereo in the suite until after Christmas break.
Robert O'Brien (Economics ’71)
Dear Dean Jung-En Woo,
I entered the College in the fall of 1967. I recall bringing no technology items, save perhaps a turntable for my vinyl albums.
As a University professor I can say that the advent of all of the technology items you mention in your message has on balance been a bad thing for our educational programs. Mostly, those devices serve as sources of distraction and means of avoidance, facilitating our students’ escape from the demands of a true educational experience. Real education implies personal change which is scary. Much better to surf the net, IM in class, and so on. Oh, I know, the real advantages of technology. (This e-mail exchange is perhaps an example.) And I use many of those advances. For example, research in my field is infinitely easier than it used to be. Whether the scholarship that emerges today is superior to that produced in the pre-Lexis/Westlaw days is another matter.
I had an exceptional educational experience at the College as a participant in the Philosophy Honors program. My learning took place in the offices of my tutors and in the carrels of the library. My “technology” consisted of a pad, pen, and typewriter. When I was engaged in the struggle that makes learning possible, I was mostly alone and isolated, not plugged in and available. (By the way, I often was “plugged in and available” but that had to do with my social life in college.) Distractions were not always at hand; “multi-tasking” was not the thing.
I could go on but if this message has actually reached you- and not been siphoned off to some PR assistant- I have surely already tested your patience. But before you write this off as the ramblings of an old and apparently cranky alum, consider this final thought. Bemoaning the inadequacies of the generation that comes after seems a pretty standard nostalgic turn for every generation. But I must say that, even when I discount my impressions for the great gulf of age that separates me from the students that I teach, I see them today as collectively less well-prepared to read, write and think than we were. I could be wrong.
Tom Ross (Philosophy ’71, JD ’74)
I brought a couple of BIC pens, spiral ring notebooks, and a bunch of quarters for the pay phone down the hall in the fall of 1967…
Andrew Selfridge (College ’71, MEd ’72)
I brought: (1) a Smith Corona portable electric typewriter with a defective ribbon system that eventually led me to toss the thing out the dorm window in a justified fit of rage; (2) a shirt pocket-sized transistor radio that could receive only a couple of Charlottesville country music stations and U.Va’s student station, making it two-thirds functionally useless; (3) a slide rule, which I sold to a hapless “toolie” after switching my major from astronomy to English; and (4) a Swiss army knife, whose corkscrew I used only during close encounters with the occasional bottle of Mateus (a then-popular barely drinkable Portuguese wine that enlivened the occasional Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts concert).
Andrew Sussman (English Language and Literature ’71)
I brought a portable stereo record player (that’s a turntable and needle) and a nondigital clock radio. That’s it!
Mike Weinstein (Sociology ’71)
Greetings Fellow Alums!
The only technology I had to bring back with me in 1970 was my brain, and my home telephone number. I didn’t even own a calculator, but then after all, I was in the Graduate Philosophy Department.
Melissa Wiedeman (MA Philosophy ’71)
June 1968, a very “high-tech” year started for me at the U. I brought a stereo, with associated LPs. I had a heating coil, which was a coil attached to an electrical plug that could be dunked into a cup of hot water to heat for instant coffee, or ketchup “tomato soup.” NO cell phone, radio, iPod or anything else. And the television in the basement of Dabney is where we watched the Jets beat the Colts in Super Bowl III.
What a year!
Vernon Campbell (College ’72)
Patrick Cook (College ’72)
When I entered the University as a transfer in the fall of 1970, my electronic baggage consisted entirely of an IBM Selectric typewriter and a KLH portable stereo!
Betsy Mackin (College ’72)
What technology did I bring to U.Va.?
When I arrived at Mr. Jefferson’s University 40 years ago I had a slide rule, a bunch of nickels for the payphone at the end of the hall in Dabney dorm and some postage stamps for letters.
For those that don’t recognize the last two items, they were communications devices somewhere between the telegraph and the BlackBerry.
Leonard Metters (College ’72)
About the most technological piece of equipment I brought along was a manual typewriter.
Bill Nachman (College ’72)
When I first came as a grad student in the fall of 1969, you needed quarters—lots of them.
First, you needed them to feed the pay phones to make long-distance calls. And you had to go through an operator because, unlike most of the country, you still could not dial direct to make a long-distance call from Charlottesville.
Second, you needed the change to make photocopies of journal articles assigned for courses. They were kept at a “sign-out” desk in the “Reserve Book Room” at Alderman. (You had to sign them out, as I recall, an hour at a time.)
Greg Raab (MA Government ’72, PhD Government ’80)
A slide rule. It was standard fare in Thornton Hall in the fall of 1968. (I later wised up and transferred to the College of Arts & Sciences).
Joe Rapisarda (College ’72, Law ’75)
When I went to college, these technological aids did not exist. I did have a typewriter.
Harriet Resio (Drama ’72)
I brought a submersion heater to boil water for instant coffee and soup (all other hot plates etc were banned from old dorms due to inadequate wiring, microwaves were merely a twinkle in Amana's eye) and the temporal iPod equivalent: the ceramic needle stereophonic turn table for 33 and 45 rpm vinyl records, with separate radio tuner and amplifier! Woowoo! Class of 1972.
Donald Richardson (College ’72)
In September of 1968, I brought with me a portable typewriter and a sliderule. A year or two later, I believe for a statistics class, I use to go to a building across the street from the “old dorms” to punch cards that would be run on the school’s computer on a low priority basis. Reminds me of a speech one night at the Jeff Hall about the “Hole Theory of Knowledge” (probably not the real title) -- that knowledge (or information) is not written on the paper (as in books) but is in the void. Now it’s in memory chips, and my head could use some USB ports so that I could plug in some flash drives.
Bob Ritter (College ’72)
In 1970 I came with nothing at all, and bought an electric typewriter from Valley Office Machines when I got here.
Beth Henning Sutton
(French Language and Literature ’72, MA French Language and Literature ’74)
When I arrived at the University for my third year, having transferred from Washington and Lee, I was burdened with pens, notebooks, T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, an anemic bank account and the apprehension that goes with relocating from a small school to a large one. That was the full extent of my “technology,” and it was more or less duplicated for the next four years as I went on to the Law School. Having been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, as evidenced by my use of e-mail, I look back at that simpler time with nostalgia.
Mat Terry (College ’72, Law ’75)
I moved into Echols dormitory (not to be confused with being an Echols scholar) in September 1969. I brought a circular slide rule, a manual typewriter and a radio. I graduated four years later with the same tools and no additional “technology.” But I had purchased a 10-speed bicycle at the start of my fourth year in order to commute to class from the house I shared with other students at 312 11th Street NE in C’ville.
Patrick Deaton (College ’73)
A slide rule.
Bob Gunnoe (College ’73)
A radio and an electric typewriter.
Kevin Kelley (College ’73)
As I suspect that you will hear from those of us who just celebrated our 35th reunion and earlier, only the students at the E (Engineering not Education) School may have used the word “technology.” Other than inexpensive stereo units, very small refrigerators and popcorn poppers, which were great to make Lipton’s soups, we had little more than pens and tablets.
G. Steven McKonly (Foreign Affairs ’73)
When I went to U.Va. for graduate school, our papers and exams could all be done by hand, so the answer to the question is none.
Laurie Pross (French Language and Literature ’73)
I brought with me a Smith Corona electric typewriter in the fall of 1970. That was it.
Alden F. Abbott (Economics, Mathematics ’74)
In the fall of 1970 I brought a portable, electric Smith Corona typewriter and earned some pocket change charging 25 cents per page to type classmates’ papers.
Frank Conneen (College ’74)
I brought my new white radio alarm clock and a compact portable typewriter with the nifty new erasable bond paper (and, of course, carbon paper for copies…)!
Dana Fredericksen (Studio Art ’74)
A faded blue raincoat. It was 1970, after all.
John Gersuk (French Language and Literature ’74)
I brought an IBM portable Selectric typewriter from home and bought pens, notebooks and a beer opener on arriving in Charlottesville.
Chris Goff (English Language and Literature ’74)
As the first year for undergrad women (1970) welcomed us to the previously all male dorms, we definitely brought our “technology” with us to college. We were the best stocked (illegal) kitchen in the “new” dorms (Lyle).
We had a popcorn popper, a blender, a hot plate, and an electric frying pan. We also had a steam iron.
We had one color TV, and everyone had a record player with speakers, there were a few electric typewriters, but not one of the 10 of us had a cassette player until our third year!
Ten of us shared a phone in our living room. Can you imagine? We thought we had it so much better than a pay phone at the end of the hall in the “old” McCormick Road dorms.
As I unhook my cell phone from my tool belt, and finish this e-mail, I do long for the simple days when we all got our messages (scribbled or garbled), when we got home to our third-floor suite. We would take our time in deciding who and when to call back.
Katharine (KT) Griffin (English Language and Literature ’74)
A clock radio and a slide rule.
Karen Juul-Nielsen (Biology ’74, Darden ’78)
No cell phone—not yet invented (although Captain Kirk had something he talked into before Scotty beamed him back aboard the Starship Enterprise ...)
No computer—PCs were still a decade in the future, and the only computers around were giant mainframes running Hollerith punch cards written in FORTRAN, ugh.
No iPod—Sony had yet to think up the idea of the Walkman
No iPhone—Even Stanley Kubrick in 2001: A Space Odyssey hadn’t conceived of this miraculous technology
I did have a slide rule, a bunch of spiral notebooks, a paper lesson planner, several boxes of Bic pens, some quarters for the pay phone at the end of the hall, and an AM radio. Also, eyeglasses.
Rick Kellogg (Environmental Sciences ’74)
It was 1972, I entered the Graduate School of A&S ... Technology? There was none. No personal computers, no cell phones, no iPods, no notebook computers, no CD players (there weren’t any CDs yet), no VCRs, not even personal cassette (what are those?) players (Walkmen), no calculators even.
We brought books, pens, pencils, paper and money. I opened my first checking account as I entered grad school. My only credit card was an Esso (later to become Exxon, then Exxon-Mobil).
Gary Koupf (MA Mathematics ’74)
I brought a manual typewriter with me, and a transistor radio.
Ted Lopatkiewicz (Psychology ’74)
My motorcycle...to complement my lame sense of humor. Other than that, I think we had pens back then, too.
Mark Miller (English Language and Literature ’74)
I am a 1974 liberal arts History alumnus of the College. IT did not exist in those ancient times. I brought my mind, a few pencils and ballpoint pens, and an open mind.
Thomas Neale (History ’74)
Technology? Let’s see ... I had a clock radio. And I was lucky because I had a portable typewriter. (You may have to explain to current students what that is.) There was no correcting on my typewriter unless you count using an ink eraser.
But don’t feel bad for me. There was much more room in our dorm rooms—think of it! No stereos, microwaves, gaming systems computers ... and we actually talked to each other face to face rather than in IM or text messages. We spent more time at Newcomb Hall, at Alderman, sitting on the Lawn. We read BOOKS. They really WERE the “good old days.”
Wendy Weiss Newman (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’74)
In 1970 as a freshman, I brought a Nikon F camera with professional style lenses to capture all of the details of student life. Nice cameras were much a rarity then, but it came to very good use. Many of my black-and-white pictures graced the Corks & Curls yearbook and documented the arrival of the first females on campus, amongst other things. My presence on campus as the “Wizard of the Darkroom” was a harbinger of things to come many years later. ... The rise of powerful technology you could carry everywhere. How times have changed.
Philip Pappajohn (College ’74)
In September 1970—the first coed year—I brought a manual typewriter. That was it!
David Peyton (Government ’74)
It was the fall of 1970. Al Groh was coaching the freshman football team which included the first black athletes on four-year scholarships (one of which was the first African American quarterback recruited by the University).
I brought a turquoise Olivetti Studio manual typewriter that was made of ABS plastic and included a matching case. I typed all my papers on erasable bond. I didn’t know about correcting tape or fluid. My typewriter could print in black or red. I also had a Casio basic four function calculator.
My dad had a sophisticated Texas Instruments model that used magnetic tape chips for recording programs. It had a game on it, too. I could play “Moon Landing,” which was a simulation of fuel use for getting the LEM safely on the lunar surface with enough fuel to take off again.
I had used a yellow Pickett slide rule in my high school trig class, so I brought that with me, too.
Pens, pencils and books rounded out my tech stable.
E. Lee Roane (Drama ’74)
When I came to U.Va. in 1970, the only technology I brought with me was a manual typewriter. No TV or stereo. A far cry from today’s world of high tech. I wish today’s students knew just how good they have it.
David Silvers (Government ’74)
I started in Grad A&S in Fall of ’71 and received PhD in August ’75 in Foreign Affairs. Technology consisted of a mechanical .5-mm pencil, which was a marked improvement over the standard Scripto (apparently no longer in business, for very vlalid reasons) and a Cross pen. Also, should include a notepad. But, the most amazing technological breakthrough that I was able to use was something called a hand-held calculator. (Note: not a pocket calculator, as my pockets were not quite large enough.) When compared to what was essentially a calculator that sat on top of a desk in the engineering library and was approximately 2 ft W x 1 1/2 h x 1 1/2 D, this was truly amazing. I distinctly recall the buzz surrounding this innovation, and my friends all wanted to look at it. Alas, it did not substitute for a math phobic and otherwise dull brain in statistics class. And, I still believe there is a little guy inside my computer using an abacus when I run an Excel spreadsheet!
Good luck in your new position.
Ed Wonder (MA Foreign Affairs ’74, PhD Foreign Affairs ’75)
Colored pens and pencils, including a pen with three colors of ink!
Joseph M. Bracken (Psychology ’75)
I arrived with a Pickett slide rule and a stereo system that included a turntable. What else was there in 1971?
Randy DeHoff (Physics ’75)
Slide rule. As I recall, the U’s “laptop” was a 64K CDC mainframe in an air conditioned basement across from the old dorms, open 24/7.
Michael Eck (Biology ’75, MA English Language and Literature ’82)
Three things: a stereo, a cooler and a sliderule…
Bert Ellis (Economics ’75, Darden ’79)
Calculators were new when I was a student back in the dark ages, and I did not yet have one. I didn’t feel quite as backward, though, when my neighbor during a physics test needed to borrow my slide rule because of a dead battery!
Sharon Foster Gardepe (Biology ’75)
I arrived at the Curry School of Education with a Hermes manual typewriter; some ballpoint pens; and a small, leather, six-ring notebook in the fall of 1974.
Susan Hatch (MEd Special Education ’75)
It’s funny to think of now, but when I entered U.Va. in the fall of 1971, I was very proud of my high school graduation gift from my parents. It was a portable Selectric typewriter. And since it was electric instead of manual it did not require the full force that those manual ones required to push a key down. Of course, now after years on computers, I doubt I’d even be able to manage the amount of force that each keystroke of that electric one took.
I paid my way through college through a combination of scholarships, working food service at U.Va., and having my free room in exchange for being an R.A. my second year. But I also typed papers for other students for money.
I wasn’t the fastest typist, but I was willing to take papers on at almost any hour, even at midnight when the paper was due the next morning. I cringe now to remember what that was like. For every error, I would have to stop and wind the paper back up and use “white-out” to cover the error and wait for it to dry before I could type over it. Oh, sure you could sometimes erase an error, but just as often that erasing would tear the paper, which could mean starting from scratch so white-out was more common. And if we did any “cut and paste” to move sections around, it really did require cutting out that section of the page with scissors, pasting it elsewhere with glue, and then copying the whole page on a Xerox machine to make it appear whole.
We had no other technology, unless you count our popcorn poppers:) Many of us made most of our meals in those old metal popcorn poppers since kitchens were not available. Oh, yes, and ironing grilled cheese sandwiches wrapped in foil.
Today writing is a big part of my business. I can’t imagine how I would have written and edited my articles and books on a manual or Selectric typewriter instead of my Mac. I’m sure years from now the current U.Va. students will be saying, “I can’t imagine writing my book (although it will probably be called something else by then, past Ebook even) by hand rather than simply talking it into my computer.” Or who knows, they might well be using some kind of mental transfer of information without the voice or hands involved at all by then.
I remember seeing the original Gutenberg Bible when I was growing up in Germany. We thought “how primitive to have to physically add one letter at a time to a press for each page.” But that was the biggest revolution in the printed word to that time. I realize now that to students today, the concept of a manual typewriter probably seems just as primitive.
Kathie (Hotter) Hightower (German Language and Literature ’75)
Oh, I had a big bundle of technology as I entered the first-year class in the fall of 1971. Let’s see, I believe the following were included:
Smith Corona electric typewriter
Texas Instruments calculator (I can’t remember the model number, but it was sweet.)
Stack-and-play turntable WITH detachable speakers
Slide rule (really)
Skateboard WITH composite wheels (quite the big deal at the time)
Loincloth (Mad Bowl and Easter’s WERE still de rigueur )
Adidas sneakers for outrunning the U-cops during streaking excursions
In case you wondered, I did graduate on time in the spring of 1975 with a University major (B.A.), though I must confess that to this day, I occasionally have a nightmare that somehow I ended up an hour short of credits.
I bet you get some great replies.
Mark Hudson (Interdisciplinary ’75)
In the fall of 1971, the only computer on the Grounds occupied most of a building, and you could tell who took computer classes by the stacks and stacks of punch cards they carried around. The technology I took to my dorm room consisted of a record player (with detachable speakers!). (You could buy an album at Back Alley Disc for $3.99!) My roommate brought a hot dog cooker.
Michael A. James (History ’75)
A circular slide rule.
Madeleine Ludlow (Interdisciplinary ’75, MBA ’78)
I brought none with me, but I did buy a simple (non-RPN) calculator at a shop at Barracks Road to help me with basic calcs (and square roots!) in my math classes. !!
Karin Lynn (Government ’75, MS Civil Engineering ’77)
Technology? In 1974? I brought a manual Olympia typewriter that actually had an “international” keyboard—a wonderful feature since I was doing graduate work in French and could actually type accent marks. I did have a 12-inch black-and-white TV and a small stereo that played 33 rpm albums. I remember having to average grades for my French 102 students by hand since pocket calculators had only been around for about a year and still cost hundreds of dollars. In college, my friends and I used to cook soup in popcorn poppers, but I had a fabulous apartment in Charlottesville that was equipped with a two-burner hotplate and a deluxe toaster oven.
When I took my son to college in 2003, he had a TV, a laptop, a desktop computer, a graphing calculator, a Discman, a PS2, a dorm refrigerator that had an actual freezer, a microwave oven and a stereo system. Times have definitely changed.
Ann Rose McBride (MA French Language and Literature ’75)
Dear Dean Woo,
In September of 1971, I appeared at Bonnycastle dorm as a brand new first-yearman. The most advanced technology I had with me was my manual typewriter (which did have a backspace/erase mechanism that sometimes worked) and a transistor radio with an earpiece that I could plug into it so as not to bother my roommate. I also had a record player (not even a stereo) but seldom used it. Second semester, I smuggled in a hot plate so as to warm up cans of soup, a daring violation of the rules.
The only phone was the one on the wall at the end of the hallway, which was difficult as the lacrosse players liked to use the receiver for target practice, sometimes without regard for whether someone was talking on the phone.
Bruce Mertens (Government ’75, Law ’78)
When we arrived for graduate work in 1973, my husband and I brought an electronic typewriter, a stereo system (radio, record player, amplifier, speakers), a television (no video players yet), an electric alarm clock and maybe a transistor radio. And 70 boxes of books!
Susan Oldrieve (MA English Language and Literature ’75, PhD English Language and Literature ’81)
... just a typewriter (nonelectric); I entered in autumn 1971 ...
Rebecca Pirocchi (French Language and Literature ’75)
Notebooks, pens and pencils (or was it a stone tablet and chisel?)
Steve Selinger (English Language and Literature ’75)
Ken Shelton (Psychology ’75, MD ’79)
Texas Instruments TI-50 calculator.
Harvey Belcher (College ’76)
I brought a guitar, teddy bear and “husband” (armed pillow for my bed.) Amazing I graduated!
Lyn Day (Psychology ’76, MA Education Psychology ’78, PhD Education ’81)
To the best of my recollection, my “technology” consisted of a small alarm clock, and my stereo, speakers, turntable and favorite albums. So maybe it took a little while to get everything set up and connected, but it was worth the effort and the wait. When we weren’t studying (of course), we loved to play our stereos, we loved to sing, and we loved to dance. Steely Dan, America, Seals & Crofts, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, the Doobie Brothers…the list was endless, the music was awesome. It was a great time to be a first-year student at U.Va. Lile Dorm, September 1972.
Nancy Forkois (Psychology ’76)
Technology for the CLAS ’76 liberal arts major ... books made of paper, slide rule, pencils, cartridge pens, legal pads, 33 1/3 rpm albums played on a portable stereo that weighed 30 pounds, a transistor radio that picked up exactly one station and a Sears manual typewriter. Just let some of the students there today try to do a double major in English and anthropology without automatic footnotes!
Audrey Hawkins (Anthropology ’76)
I brought a clock radio and a portable electric typewriter. That was it. In the fall of 1972.
David Hein (English Language and Literature, Religious Studies ’76, PhD Religious Studies ’82)
My grandfather gave me a wonderful new slide rule that was the envy of many of my fellow students!
Sumner La Croix (Interdisciplinary ’76)
When I started college in September 1972, I had excellent technology: spiral notebooks, 3-ring binders, Bic pens, an electric desk lamp and a cutting-edge portable (weighed about 25 pounds) typewriter. And white-out tape and liquid. Later in graduate school, I would actually get an electric typewriter. No record player, no tape player, no car.
When I graduated in May 1976 I had the same technology, and still no car (that would arrive in the form of a used Mercury Monarch in 1979).
Douglas McCarty (English Language and Literature ’76)
A Texas Instruments calculator.
Leland Merritt (Economics ’76, MBA ’83)
In the fall of 1972 the most technological possession that I brought with me into Page Dorm was an AM clock radio. Without fail, it got me to morning classes for four years (when I remembered to set it).
The guys next door had a TV with an antenna that they hung out the window. That was about as “I.T.” as we got.
Steve Moriarty (History ’76)
I brought a portable manual typewriter, a hot pot and a portable sewing machine to my room on the top floor of Webb dorm for my first year in 1972. I wrote nearly all my papers on that typewriter, with the first draft usually being my final draft, thanks to learning from my father’s editing of all my papers from third grade up. I used the hot pot for soup and hot chocolate. I used the sewing machine to make repairs to my clothes and those of my suitemates.
Mochel Morris (Psychology, Religious Studies ’76)
When I arrived on the grounds of Mr. Jefferson’s Academical Village in 1972, I was proud of my technologically advanced portable tape recorder, FM/AM radio, record player and electric typewriter. Oh yes, can’t forget my wind-up grandfather alarm clock that was loud enough to wake the entire dorm.
Yolanda Burrell Taylor (Afro-American and African Studies ’76)
A slide rule and a pocket calculator. I did not even have a typewriter of my own.
Penny Trentham (Psychology ’76)
In my first year at U.Va. in 1972 there were still a lot of engineering students wearing slide rules on their belts. Then a couple years later, a fraternity brother of mine in engineering was livid that the price on one of the first scientific hand-held calculators had fallen so dramatically from when he had bought his—$600 down to $200 in one year. (Now they probably go for $25 or less, or are at least more powerful than ever.) In my fourth year, I remember trying my hand at using the U.Va. computer center for the first time. I had to hand-deliver a stack of IBM punch cards, and I remember praying that I wouldn’t trip and get the cards all out of order. I must admit, the Microsoft and Apple founders were worth their weight in gold in revolutionizing computing technology.
Paul Weatherhead (Sociology ’76)
A pencil—but I forgot it when I went to register, so actually filled out the registration form using an ink comprised of spit and dust from the Mem Gym floor that I applied with a match stick. Please don’t publish this—I’ve never told a soul.
Name Withheld (’76)
Just a manual typewriter!
Brigitte Bailey (English Language and Literature ’77)
A circular slide rule in 1973
Dr. Lissa Dulany (a.k.a. Margaret A. Dulany) (Chemistry, Religious Studies ’77)
In the fall of 1973, my first year, I brought a “state of the art” Texas Instruments hand-held calculator to school with me (no such thing as pocket size at that time). I was very proud of it. It had four functions—add, subtract, multiply and divide. Even more importantly, I had finally talked my parents into buying it for me because it was on sale and had been reduced all the way from $150 to $95, which was still a lot of money, especially back then. I also brought a slide rule with me, which I had used for physics and chemistry classes in high school. I used the calculator all the way through U.Va. until the day it gave up the ghost. Never touched the slide rule again.
Perry Ellison (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’77)
In September 1972, as a resident of the infamous Maupin dormitory, I brought a manual typewriter. The only telephone we had was located in the suite—the shared space for nine of us “women”—and I think the University provided that.
Hey, when is someone going to do a story about our dorm that year?
Donna Firer (Interdisciplinary ’77)
No technology. Not even a calculator. I had an Olivetti Lettera 32 fully manual typewriter and a box window fan. Roger Goldman from our dorm (Dunnington) had brought up a van load of fans from Virginia Beach and was selling them at a nice profit on the lawn in front of the dorm. We called him ‘the fan man’ that year. My roommate had a stereo record player. Oh, yeah, we had a hotpot for boiling water. That’s pretty much it. Things were a little different in 1973!
By the way, my roommate's daughter just started UVA this year, with the full complement of technology. Very cool.
Welcome to U.Va., Meredith!
Pam Friedman (College ’77)
A brand new Texas Instruments scientific calculator. It was a good 7 or 8 inches long, weighed a couple of pounds and cost about $75, but it even did square roots. Before that, I used a slide rule all through high school.
Robert Hicks (Psychology ’77, Law ’81)
In 1973, I brought a portable electric typewriter with me to the University. I still have it! But it’s now known as “the boat anchor.”
John Levan (English Language and Literature ’77)
Stereo and speakers! (1973)
Paul Lusby (Government ’77, JD ’82)
Texas Instruments SR 10 calculator. Cost was about $100. Furor over whether students could use these in Mr. Grimes’ Gen Chem 101 (pre-med weeder). Not allowed, so here I sit 35 years later trying to eke out a living as a lawyer (secretary sending this e-mail for me).
M. Mallory Mantiply (Psychology ’77, Law ’80)
I remember my parents buying me this great scientific calculator that cost a fair amount, and two weeks later, Texas Instruments revolutionized the calculator industry with calculators that cost one-third.
Such is life.
John Morris (Economics ’77)
In 1973 I brought a turntable (that thing you play records on), pens and pencils and an iron. The iron was used to make toasted cheese sandwiches (after wrapping them in tin foil).
Frances Prevatt (Psychology ’77, MA Psychology ’80, PhD Clinical Psychology ’85)
Thank you for your e-mail. Having just dropped Britt (College’12) off at her new dorm, I was awash with a number of nostalgic feelings for the hot August day I moved into my dorm at the University. In the summer of ’73, I was moving into my second floor dorm in Balz at the top of “O” Hill to the sounds of The Allman Brothers’ “Ramblin’ Man” blaring on someone’s stereo. I brought a rather large Texas Instruments calculator, a box fan and a boxy Sears refrigerator the color of a caution light to start my college life at the University. My mother, in an effort to make my room feel “homey,” gave me a rather large green fern. Ferns must have been the “in” thing in the ’70s but not so cool in ’08 because Britt politely demurred when I suggested one for her room.
A. Richard Thorsey (Religious Studies ’77)
I arrived my first year with a stereo turntable and an AM/FM alarm clock. I discovered that to be competitive as a science major, I would need a calculator. I had to call my parents my first week of classes and beg for (what was then a huge amount of money) the $399 I needed to buy a basic TI scientific calculator with no graphing capabilities.
Laura Burrows (Psychology ’78)
In 1974, I arrived at the Tuttle dormitory with a stereo, my favorite 33 rpm LPs and a Smith Corona typewriter I received as a high school graduation gift. This one was electric, a real upgrade for me, having grown up on a manual typewriter in my home.
I typed every paper in my double major of history and music on that typewriter, and then took it to law school for three more years of hard work, including Law Review multiple drafts with footnotes. They just don’t make machines like that anymore.
I still own and play several of those LPs. There was one landline phone in our dorm “suite” of 10 guys; phone calls to and from home were infrequent. I spent many hours in the University Library, using an “old-fashioned” card catalog for my research papers.
Think how much less technology Mr. Jefferson had, and how much more thinking he accomplished.
Philip D. Calderone (History, Music ’78)
I was a first-year biology major in the fall of 1974 and had the pleasure of taking Mr. Bryan’s Infamous Chemistry Class, wherein he could cover eight blackboards with chalk in 15 minutes or less, as we all frantically scribbled away on our papers with plain ol’ ink. During the exams, some calculations were necessary, so the majority of us had our brand new incredibly expensive TI or HP (reverse logic—how exotic) calculators to maximize our speed through the dreaded exams, as if that would help. Speaking only for me, I did not trust technology yet and religiously parked myself next to a wall plug, and checked all answers with my only trustworthy instrument—my slide rule. And was I hot on a slide rule!
Kids these days ... if I could find my slide rule, I’d force my boys to learn it, just in case they’re at sea without a generator. But then, I also keep a manual typewriter and a few feather quills around. I’d say I’m closer to Jefferson in philosophy than Gates.
Thanks for letting an old Wahoo reminisce.
Nancy J. Chapman (Biology ’78)
I was a M.S. and Ph.D. student in physics from 1976 to 1981. I had a TI calculator that cost a fortune ($99) and was rarely used in physics. Without those modern gadgets, I am glad I can still hear and, more importantly, still go back to fundamental principles and think from there.
Stephen Cheung (MA Physics ’78, PhD Physics ’82)
I entered the University in 1974. I brought a Texas Instrument calculator, a portable typewriter and a clock radio.
Betsy Coons (Foreign Affairs ’78)
I brought a calculator. That’s it! Of course, the calculator was expensive and was, for that time, a very good calculator. It pales in comparison to what every elementary school child has today, but that was in the fall of 1974.
The computer guys were still carrying mag cards! Wow, how things have changed over the last quarter-century.
Jeffrey L. Everhart (English Language and Literature ’78)
In 1974 I arrived at Maupin with an IBM Selectric typewriter and a popcorn machine, and I wrote letters to home once a week.
Gwen Freeman (Philosophy ’78, Law ’81)
A typewriter and an HP calculator
Charlie Goodrich (Economics ’78)
A 20-inch window fan, a $40 “stereo” radio and a “corded” phone that U.Va. supplied and all nine of us in the suite shared.
Dustin Hecker (Economics ’78, Law ’83)
In August of 1974, I matriculated into the School of Engineering. At that time pocket calculators were just coming on the scene. The HP45 which, if you can find one today, costs about $10, but in 1974 they were $400. To put that in perspective, my out-of-state tuition for that semester was only $658! We were told by the E-School that we should only bring a slide rule and not to put out the money for a calculator until we knew if we were really going to need one.
As for computers, there was one at the E-School that took up about three classrooms worth of space. Terminals were placed throughout the E-School and there were sign-up sheets at each one to reserve your time. Normally 2:00 am was available. This is probably why I transferred to the College after two years.
We were not allowed to have telephones in our rooms. I was in Hancock. There was a pay phone at the end of the hall. Our RA was allowed to have a telephone and we could use that to call home instead of calling collect from the pay phone. Cooking was not allowed in the rooms. We were only allowed to have a electric popcorn popper and a hot pot to heat water for coffee. The only cable outlet for television was in the common area downstairs. I should also point out that “cable” was required to get the local and network stations because the antenna reception in C’ville was very poor. Cable as we know it today did not exist.
Today’s students most likely would not survive under such conditions, but we thought everything was great. We had fewer distractions and had more time to enjoy the University and many more opportunities for in-person social interactions.
Christopher D. Kniesler (Government ’78)
Lots of pens, pencils and white paper, lined notebooks. Also, a chunky “state-of-the-art” calculator (made in Taiwan), which I had just bought for about $20 and was in the process of mastering :-)
John Kotsonis (PhD Physics ’78, MBA ’80)
Technology? I know it existed in 1973, but not within my worldly possessions, unless one counts my eight-track player or the turntable I ripped out of a piece of furniture that my parents never used. Hey, it was a Garard and it worked! But a few of my suitemates had cassette decks and we all preferred to listen to them. One suitemate’s system even came with speakers that plugged into the electrical outlet, and we all thought that was really high-tech. Not sure why. We just did.
That’s about it, although I did have a slide rule and it worked well, just not as fast as an abacus. No typewriter, manual or electric. No electric alarm clock. Not much of anything technological other than access to the University’s computer center, where I learned to program in Fortran. Writing the programs was a lot of fun. Typing out what seemed like a bazillion program cards was not. And I remember getting a program into an infinite loop. That hurt! I wasted all my allotted computer time within a couple of minutes.
But there are no complaints from me. Technology can be a great tool. It can really increase productivity. But it does not replace (and it sometimes actually masks) actual learning.
Gotta go! My record is skipping.
Stephen A. Mancuso (Environmental Sciences ’78)
I brought a wonderful portable manual typewriter... along with carbon paper and white-out. We were great friends all four years!
David Marcum (Anthropology ’78)
An IBM correcting Selectric typewriter! In the ’74-’78 timeframe, anyone taking a computer-related course was using punch cards.
Anna-Marie Montague (English Language and Literature ’78)
I brought a typewriter I think.
Elisabeth Ohman (French Language and Literature ’78)
A stereo, headphones and a manual typewriter!
Chris Schroder (English Language and Literature ’78)
When I pulled up to the “old dorms” to take up residence on the third floor of Humphreys in 1974, my only piece of technology was a slide rule. Our phone was a pay phone at the end of the hall. I brought a few of my favorite LPs in case someone had a record player. My next-door neighbor had an eight-track player, but I had not stepped up to that technology. One of my first official acts was to find a typist for my English papers. I used her for four years and always had to turn in my work a week before it was due to ensure she had time to type it before the deadline. The only color TV was in the lounge downstairs. There were a couple portable black-and-white TVs around, but mere mortals on a student budget couldn’t afford the cost of portable color TV.
J.B. Smith (Interdisciplinary ’78)
This is a fun question! I arrived at Virginia in 1976 as a transfer student. As an English major, I had many papers to write. I brought with me a trusty manual typewriter (el clunko!) and LOTS of erasable bond paper (I am not a very good typist). I was delighted to discover that my new roommate had an electric typewriter. Unfortunately, it still made a lot of noise as I finished up papers at 3 a.m.
To date myself even further, my mother convinced me that it was in my best interest to take a computer class during my first year at Virginia. At that time, we had to write our programs on punch cards. The punch-card machines were only available in the computer lab, and there was often a wait involved. Once your punch cards were submitted, there was an additional wait for your programs to be run. Student programs were run third, after professors’ and graduate students’. Even a simple program required a number of cards to run, and if you made any errors, your printout would say you had made “fatal errors.” I remember that the first program I attempted, which I entitled “Fruit,” was returned with this message: “42 fatal errors in Fruit.” (Remember, I am a bad typist.) After spending more time on this elective than I did on my major, I decided to drop the class after six weeks.
An even funnier technology story comes from my old boyfriend. He was an engineering student, class of 1976. I remember going with him to an electronics store to purchase a graphing calculator, for which he paid around $500. I bought my daughter (Curry ’09) a graphing calculator several years ago for—$80! So when people tell you that the price of everything has skyrocketed, remind them how cheap electronics are now compared to the ’70s!
Thanks for a little trip down memory lane! Hope you have lots of fun responses!
Kim Smith (English Language and Literature ’78)
Good lord, I had to laugh ...
When I entered my first year in the fall of 1974, I brought my state-of-the-art stereo system and two crates (Peaches record store) of albums! I was an English/Psych major, so I didn’t need one of those new, fancy Texas Instrument calculators for any math, but the engineering students had them! Boy were they amazing: addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, square roots ... but expensive (around $200 at the time).
I think I had a blow dryer, too. (Does that count as technology?)
In my Statistics class for Psych, we went down in the basement of Gilmer Hall and used some giant, primitive punch-card system to enter data ... that was the extent of my “computer” exposure.
How did we survive! Have a great year!!
Kathlyn Hyatt Stewart (English Language and Literature, Psychology ’78)
As I’m reading and responding to your e-mail, I’m listening to an album on my “stereo.” Yes, I still spin vinyl albums. A few years back I bought a second turntable simply because it had the same stylus I use on my own turntable.
When I arrived at the University in the fall of 1974, if one had a typewriter, that was considered good ... electric typewriters, or access to them, was a godsend. If I remember correctly, a Selectric cartridge typewriter with a correct-o-ribbon cartridge constituted high technology for some of us history majors.
We read newspapers and magazines, not e-zines. We did research using a card catalog and real books. Later tonight, I’m going to sit and read one of them.
Have a great day ... I’ll look forward to seeing your article.
Bill Verley (History ’78)
Entering in 1974, I think the highest tech thing I had was a small teapot with a cord to heat water for coffee, tea, hot chocolate and powdered soup!
Mary Moncure Watson (Religious Studies ’78)
Stereo with turntable; state-of-the-art headphones
That’s it ... amazing what we got by without!
Karen Wells (College ’78)
My parents bought me a state-of-the-art calculator. It cost $125 in 1975 and it even did trig functions J No need for the slide rule I used in high school. In today’s dollars, that’s probably more than most parents spend on freshmen computers. And of course, I had an electric typewriter that even had the back-space erase button. I think it was more expensive than the calculator.
Vickie Bajtelsmit (Slavic Language and Literature ’79)
I brought a used portable typewriter! My parents lived in Iran, so I couldn’t really even talk to them by phone. The stamp and envelope were my technology.
Sarah Cox (English Language and Literature ’79)
I brought a fan and a “hot pot” to heat water for cup ’o soup and hot chocolate. I did rent a fridge. No computer, cell phone, stereo or TV. I may have had a clock radio.
Delinda Davis (Biology ’79)
I arrived in the fall of 1975 with pen and paper. I remember that my roommate brought with her an IBM Selectric typewriter and I thought I was the luckiest person alive to have her as a roommate. She was on the cutting edge. She has since passed away and I’m sorry she’s not around to share this memory with me.
Mary Davis (History ’79)
A calculator, the brand was Sharp as I recall.
Jim Durrett (Economics ’79)
Vaughn Gardner (Chemistry ’79, MD ’89)
Paper, pencil, pen, coffee maker.
Steve Hay (Economics, Government ’79)
Back in the fall of 1975, the “technology” I brought with me to my first-year dorm was a portable electric typewriter and an FM/AM radio/alarm clock.
Christina Meier (German Language and Literature ’79)
When I started in the fall of 1975, I had my new electric typewriter (even though my Dad thought I should have a manual one!) and my first calculator. I can’t remember the model, but it cost about $400.00 and could do scientific notation.
Meg Moore (Anthropology ’79)
In my years at U.Va., from 1975-79, the only technology I brought was a TI scientific calculator that at that time was TI’s best. There were people still using slide rules at the time! Otherwise, I had access to the University’s HP mainframe computer via teletype and would save my data on a tape printout. I also brought my stereo system with turntable and cassette player. Wow how things have changed!
Stephen Seim (Psychology ’79)
The tools of technology to accompany me to the Grounds in 1975 included: pens, pencils, erasers, white-out strips, slide rule, protractor, pencil sharpener, calculator, record player, fingers, coat hangers, three-ring binders with tabs, manila folders, notepads, hot plate, razor, watch, typewriter, backpack … I think I left my abacus at home.
Kevin Sims (Economics, Sociology ’79, MEd ’81)
I graduated with a B.A. in Economics in 1979. My daughter just began on Tuesday as a first-year student at the University and she indeed has a new laptop, iPod and cell phone. My first year over 33 years ago, I brought a manual typewriter to school and plenty of bottles of white-out because I was a terrible typist. During my four years at the University I took one class (Land Use Economics), which required a project using the computer facilities on grounds and data input programs keyed in on 80-character punch cards. As I remember, I spent a number of late nights in the computer facility and typed many punch cards before I finally had a successful computer project result. My grade in the class was marginal, but this one class stimulated my subsequent interest in information technology and today I am the CEO of a small government contracting firm in Northern Virginia (Avanco International, Inc.) specializing in database software and Business Intelligence. The tools have changed from punch cards and white-out, but the University of Virginia still does an excellent job of training students to enter what has progressively become a very technologically advanced worldwide business environment.
Steve Vandivier (Economics ’79)
A manual typewriter and a calculator – 1976
Susan Andrews (Drama ’80)
Ha! When I arrived at Dobie Hall in the fall of 1976, I think I had an electric typewriter, a small blow dryer, a little “hotpot” for boiling a cup of water, and someone in the suite brought a popcorn popper. I also had a teeny “cube” refrigerator. I had a fancy hand-held H-P programming calculator (very cutting edge), which was my pride and joy, but the calculations for most exams were still required to be done using a slide rule. I just delivered my oldest child to Villanova U. for his first year and he took two laptops and a “smart” phone (AT&T Tilt) and all the peripherals, as well as a digital camera. He can receive HDTV through a tuner card in one of the laptops (which, of course, is widescreen). He has a stacked fridge, freezer, microwave. It would be interesting to see how much more a college dorm spends on electricity now compared to 30 years ago.
Ann Conjura (Chemistry ’80)
Technology? In the fall of 1973, I brought a fan (no AC in Bonnycastle) and a turntable with speakers that were 2 feet by 1 foot by 1 foot. No computer (we had boxes of cards that we took to the basement of Gilmore).
Barbara Davis (Psychology ’80, MEd ’93)
August 1976: A manual Smith Corona typewriter. When I wanted to upgrade, I’d borrow a friend’s electric typewriter. Also had a clock radio—that was it!
Lucy Neale Duke (History ’80, MEd ’93)
In 1976 I brought my father’s precision German-made slide rule to my first year at the college, because I could not possibly afford one of the new $175 Texas Instruments calculators some others were lucky enough to own. Probably why I became an English major. I substantially upgraded my technology the following year with a 1962 Willy’s Jeep CJ3B, with four-wheel drive of course, and that jeep got plenty of use in midnight off-road runs around Albemarle County and up to Afton Mountain and the National Forest. I would say that the jeep escapades were critical to relieving the stress and tedium of studying. It was especially useful for transportation to out-of-the way Easter’s parties in the country (I don’t know if you are allowed to say the word “Easter’s” on Grounds these days), when long dirt farm access roads and field parking areas became impassable to normal two-wheel drive cars. Unfortunately, I think my GPA declined somewhat with my access to the new technology, given how cheap gasoline was at the time, and because I was never able to convince Mr. Kolb to credit these self-directed studies toward my American Studies core requirements.
Neil Goodloe, on the other hand, brought the largest pair of stereo speakers any of us had ever seen, and somehow fit them in a dorm room. If you heard Boz Scaggs’ “Lido Shuffle” or the Allman Brothers “Whippin’ Post” cranking from Watson dorm on a warm afternoon in 1976-77, that was Neil advising that it was time to relax. God bless you Neil! And someone, I can’t remember who, brought a brand new Fender Stratocaster, which I was permitted to view once but never to touch, let alone play, due to its rare and precious nature and special musical qualities. There was some general concern my lack of musicality might have negatively affected the Strat, I think.
Dan Dunne (English Language and Literature ’80, Law ’85)
I was there in 1976. I was excited to trade in my slide rule for a basic scientific calculator.
Bryan M. Eagle III (English Language and Literature ’80)
Wow! A trip down memory lane. In the fall of 1976, the sole “technology” I possessed upon entering the hallowed Grounds was a very small Casio calculator capable of only the simplest operations. I thought I was in the big leagues when I purchased, in full view of my underclassmen, a $114 Texas Instruments Scientific Calculator at the McCormick Bookstore. Being a not-so-bright first-year College student, I traded impression for practicality. This was designed for E-School wizards, and the myriad functions tended to overwhelm my intellect! Slide rules had only recently been usurped by these marvelous chip creatures, and we considered ourselves kings of academia in possession of the top-of-the-line gizmos. Ahhhh. Such were the days!
Thanks for the memories!
Thomas F. Hamilton (Biology ’80)
In the fall of 1974, I brought to the School of Arts & Sciences a Smith Corona typewriter, erasable paper, a typewriter eraser and a calculator. Personal computers didn’t hit the scene until the 1980s. When I returned to U.Va. to attend the School of Law in 1987, I brought my brand new blue-screen DOS computer and printer. I thought it was the last word in technology. Westlaw and Lexis were just starting to be used in the Law School. However, first-year students still had to do research “the old-fashioned way” using laborious and heavy reference books. I think there was still some unease at letting first-year law students loose on the computers.
How things have changed!
Corinne Howley, J.D. (History ’80, Law ’90)
I brought a Texas Instruments Scientific Calculator. I used it extensively, sometimes hours on a given day, as I processed my research data or did class assignments. It was sort of high-end for the time and what I remember most about the calculator was that I left it on a table in the main reading room of the library over the weekend. When I returned it was still there. The Honor Code worked.
Chuck McClaugherty (MS Environmental Sciences ’80)
Since I knew I would be a Spanish major, I anticipated writing a lot of papers in Spanish during my years at U.Va., beginning in the fall of 1976. I was super excited that my parents paid to have my IBM electric typewriter fitted with special keys that would type the accent “ ‘ “, the tilde "~", the upside down question mark “¿” and upside down exclamation point “¡” that are now so easily done on the computer!! I felt so special to be bringing that typewriter with me to Page in the Old Dorms, so that I, unlike many other students, would not have to go back and handwrite those marks with pen on the papers we typed for Mrs. Cozart and Mr. Wright. Of course, if we made any major typing mistakes, we still had to go back and retype the whole page, complete with readjusted footnotes at the bottom of the page, etc.! There was no technology to address that!
Thanks for letting us share!
Sara Lineberger Mendes (Spanish ’80)
When I packed up to head off to C’ville for the first time in August 1976, the two essential pieces of technology I brought with me were my Hewlett-Packard scientific calculator (purchased for the princely sum of $125 during my senior year of high school) and a used, manual typewriter—a gift to me from my parents for all those papers ahead of me. They carried me through first-year, but imagine my delight when one of the benefits of my second-year work-study job assignment—typing for a psychology professor—was the use of a Selectric II typewriter (with correction tape) and a tiny, private closet in the Psych building in which to work. I knew I had it made!
Diane Natalino Shafer (Biology ’80)
I brought a portable manual typewriter that lasted all four years, on which I pounded out my senior thesis for the History Department. I did not own a telephone or a television set until well after graduation.
David Thurlow (History ’80)
As a new first year student in the fall of 1976, I brought my brand new non-correcting electric typewriter, a clock radio and a calculator that could only add, subtract, multiply, divide and calculate square roots. My fourth year I also brought along a turntable and speakers. That was technology. No laptops, no cell phones, not even any microwave ovens. And somehow, we all survived and even learned a little something along the way.
Ellen Vinson (Economics ’80)
I arrived in the fall of 1976 with a Smith Corona Selectric electric typewriter and a few ink and correction cartridges. That was all the “technology” I brought.
Cobie Whitten (Psychology ’80)
In the fall of 1977, I brought to the University: a wristwatch, a scientific TI calculator, several mechanical pencils and an oscillating fan (the “old dorms” were not air-conditioned). By the way, the fan still works.
Lisa Adams (Biology ’81)
I brought a stereo, alarm clock and Texas Instruments calculator
Chuck Banta (Biology ’81)
In 1977, the only “technology” I brought to Virginia was an iron, a hot pot and a stereo with huge speakers! I don’t remember even having a calculator—I still used a slide rule. Our suite got a hideous turquoise old-fashioned dial phone from Centel for all of us to share. I took a computer lab class that used punch cards. Boy, do I feel old! How ironic that I am sending this to you from my iPhone.
Warm regards and fond memories!
Cynthia Espy (History ’81)
I had most of the hot “technology” when entering the University in 1977—an electric pencil sharpener, stereo (with turntable AND cassette) and a solar-powered calculator with TWO memory keys!
After Christmas break, one of my roommates brought back the amazing new electronic game “Pong,” which probably knocked .50 point off of our suite’s average GPA.
David Gaines (Economics ’81, MBA ’85)
Eight-track player in the car!
AM/FM alarm clock
All are now obsolete!
Stacey Orr Gallant (French Language and Literature ’81)
I brought a TI-35 Calculator (and paid $85 for it) and Sony Walkman that played cassette tapes and had a AM/FM radio. I had a Hotpot, iron, ironing board and a small fridge (if you are not sure what these were ask your parents!) (cooking in the dorm).
Jean-Marie Gaul (Environmental Sciences ’81)
A slide rule, cassette deck and a roll of quarters to call home from the pay phone at the end of the hall in my dorm.
Steven G. Gwiazdowski (Interdisciplinary ’81)
Welcome to U.Va. We’re excited to have you as a member of our family.
When I arrived in 1970, I used a slide rule in first-year chemistry but moved up to an LED calculator during my second year. It didn’t have enough power to do roots, so I still used my slide rule!
W. Steven Martin (Economics ’81)
An HP 12c calculator, a stereo that played records and a small black and white TV (w/o cable). None of the other stuff was available in 1977.
Jim Proctor (Economics, History ’81)
As a first-year student in the fall of 1977, I had a fancy Remington electric typewriter, a Texas Instruments calculator (which cost over $100), and, of course, a stereo system with a turntable and cassette player.
David Susman (Psychology ’81)
My big technology was a correctable electric typewriter on which I typed all my papers and earned quite a lot of money typing other people’s. I also had a simple stereo which played albums only.
Gillian Davoud Williams (Studio Art ’81)
My 1978 college technology was not very remarkable, but I get a real chuckle when I recall how my father, concerned about safeguarding my prized possessions against theft, used an engraving tool to inscribe many of my items (typewriter, eight-track stereo, even my desk lamp) with my Social Security number! Times have certainly changed. Thirty years later, the eight-track is long gone, but I still have that desk lamp, now adorned with a label hiding my personal identifier etched into its base.
Kimberli Ball (Sociology ’82)
Slide rule and TI calculator.
Cathy Boyne (Biology ’82)
What a great question! I don’t feel that old, but from a technological perspective, the early 1980s might as well been the 1950s. I did have an electric Smith Corona typewriter that I used for my own papers (which, by the way, were researched in the library’s card catalogue) and to make a few extra dollars typing other student's papers. There were no ATMs—you went to the book store and cashed checks—and you were lucky if you had a phone in your room and didn’t have to go down the hall to a pay phone. Helicopter parents didn’t exist—if we talked to our parents once a week, that was a lot!
Karen Cameron (Biology ’82)
I graduated in 1982 so I only brought an electric typewriter ... no cell phone, computer, etc.
Susan Crimmins (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’82)
In the fall of 1978, I impressed my first-year roommate with my stereo system—it could only play LPs—and electric typewriter. In gratitude, she provided the white-out.
Anne Farrisee (Economics ’82)
Oooh, your e-mail will generate lots of fodder for a nice article!
In 1978, my prized piece of technology was a $100 electric typewriter, complete with a red-and-black ribbon. It was never clear to me just how much typing in red the manufacturer expected people to do, but that’s what it came with. One of my roommates had the next generation of typing technology at his disposal: a typewriter with slap-in/slap-out cartridges. One cartridge typed, the other “erased” by typing over in white. If you made a typing error—and we made plenty!—you’d slap out the black film cartridge and slap in the white, type over your mistake, then change cartridges again and retype. His typewriter defeated the need for erasable bond paper, which was its own little nightmare.
Matthew Freeman (Government ’82)
Class of ’82 A&S, I brought an electric typewriter and white-out. There was a pay phone at the end of the hall in the old dorms. Amazing how we all found the parties anyway.
Victoria Fullan McDonough (History ’82)
Oh my goodness! When I arrived in August of 1978, most of my electronics were food-related: a fridge, a hotpot and a popcorn popper. I also had my trusty electric typewriter, but the only phone calls I made or received were on the wall phone at the end of the hall. Snail mail was the method of choice for communicating regularly with hometown friends and family. Our version of instant messaging was the memo board attached to the outside of our door.
I am truly old!
Lynn Huff Migliozzi (Government ’82)
A big, huge stereo and a giant crate of albums! That was it!! (Scary how things have changed!)
P.S. I clearly remember the pay phone at the end of the hall in Bonnycastle!
Ashley Lickle O'Neil (Speech Communications ’82)
I was a first-year in the fall of 1978. I arrived with a hotpot, refrigerator and clock/radio.
Therese Trouche Smythe (History ’82)
When I arrived to begin my graduate studies in 1976, I brought a number of books. I must say that the codex—to use a more technological-sounding word than “book”—remains perhaps the most revolutionary and influential information storage device yet devised by humanity.
John A. Stevenson (PhD English Language and Literature ’83)
I brought a portable manual Olivetti typewriter that I’d had customized (at the typewriter repair store) with accent keys so I could type French!
Diane Arnson Svarlien (Classics ’82)
I brought an electric typewriter and a calculator to college in the fall of 1978.
John R. Todd (German Language and Literature ’82)
I brought a typewriter and a pocket calculator (my roommate brought a TV and stereo as well). I didn’t use a personal computer until graduate school. For the record, I’m now a database manager!
Julie Beamer (Environmental Sciences ’83, MS Civil Engineering ’88)
When I first went to U.Va. as an undergrad in the fall of 1978, I took an electric typewriter to the university with me.
While at Virginia as an undergrad, I remember taking a Basic programming class and using punch cards. This website gives a quick description of what was involved—a stack of cards several inches thick would represent your programming input.
I believe dot-matrix printers were available for use in the computer lab, but no one owned a printer for home use at the time.
In 1991, when I began my M.B.A. at Darden, I took a personal computer—probably what was then called an Intel 386 or 486.
I also bought an HP 17B calculator, which I still use (this followed the still-very-popular HP12C).
For my group strategy project during my second year at Darden, we analyzed what was then the fledgling “online services” industry—what were then called bulletin board systems.
These included Compuserve, Prodigy, Genie and a fledgling D.C., suburb company, America Online.
AOL differentiated itself over time because it had a graphical user interface, making it more intuitive for some users.
To use an online service, you used a dial-up modem, connecting your computer to the bulletin board service via a phone line.
Not many people in the United States were “online” at that time—most use was still by serious computer users who used FTP and telnet for academic work. Those who did use the Internet were not online for much time, as this tied up your telephone.
The Web did not really come about in a big way for consumers until 1995-96, and came out of a proposal by Tim Berniers-Lee written in 1990.
Here is a screen shot of the first white and yellow-pages directory on the web which I helped launch in 1996. This was the first time you could look up a phone number or address nationwide online and became one of the top 10 most popular websites in 1996-1997.
Martha Collins (Linguistics, Psychology ’83, Darden ’93)
The only high-tech instrument I brought to college was a bottle of white-out so that the eraser wouldn’t tear a hole through the paper!
Eric Haldimann (Latin American Studies ’83)
Technology brought to the dorm first year: ELECTRIC TYPEWRITER!!! My “technology” proved to be a staple in my first-year economic plan—I would type papers for fellow students in exchange for copies of cassette tapes with the latest tunes, frosty beverages, time to use a car to haul a month’s worth of dirty laundry. The barter system thrived!
When my daughter Sara (Commerce ’08) entered her first year in 2004, she was equipped with a laptop and all the information she needed at her fingertips. I explained to her the process we used to complete a paper—trips to the Alderman card catalog and book hunting, note cards to complete and organize, then nights in the stacks to complete a paper—it may have been too much information, as I think I aged 50 years in her eyes!
Natalie Swindler-Hathaway (Government ’83)
In 1979, I brought an electronic typewriter. (Does that count as “technology”?)
Connie Heppenstall (Economics ’83)
Hah! I brought my trusty Smith Corona typewriter and a Texas Instruments calculator with me in August ’79.
Larry Huffman (Environmental Sciences ’83, MEng ’88)
I don't think of myself as “that old,” but there are very big differences between 1979 and 2008....
Also, what a very timely question...my 7th grader has a dedicated flash drive for all of her classes...an on-line BLOG to check homework assignments, test grades, project deadlines...yes, we arranged for her to have a laptop available in the Kitchen.
When my children saw the Disney movie Mulan-the sound the cricket made when writing the letter was unfamiliar to them...which prompted me to tell them my "pen and paper stories'....
I had an electric typerwriter-"Selectra", light blue, only 2 keys would stick, and it had a correction tape built in! All of my editing was finished before I sat down to type the paper...corrections were a bear!!! I was able to have such an upscale machine, because my Mother had just finished her Master's degree.
I remember lending it out on a fairly regular basis...
In 1994, I attended a Masters Program-it was mandatory that the computer used was at least a 356 to run the statistics programs...I almost failed my Intro to Computer class, because I maintained that I didn't need to know how an internal combustion engine worked to drive a car...but there was some preliminary usage of the Internet--all black and green screens, and part of one test was checking for library books in Tiawan..although, there was one computer geek that had something called "Windows" and he had the ability to look at pictures!
Fast forward to today--I think we have 3 or 4 computers in the house, a wireless network, and I have raging tendonitis from typing all day at work and then coming home and continueing to type....and I'm looking for the affordable input device that will work without too many keystrokes, not need a quiet environment, and can keep up with as fast as I can think...
Jeannie Stone Hurlbert (Biology ’83, Nursing ’85)
A Brother typewriter from Sears with a really cool auto-erase function (it overrode the typo as long as you hadn’t already hit the return key) and a pair of enormous stereo speakers with a turntable and amplifier. That was it. Came to U.Va. in 1979.
Kimberley Kaiserman (English Language and Literature ’83)
When I was at U.Va., we were excited to have one Apple IIe in Memorial Gym, in a locked office and only accessible when Nina, the secretary, was around. I still have some punch cards from my dissertation data analyses. The dean of education’s secretary had the one typewriter with memory. I paid her after hours to help in the typing/editing of final copies of my dissertation. ...
Jeff McCubbin (PhD Education ’83)
As a member of the CLAS 84, I brought nothing, not even a calculator. Many of us had a Sony Walkman, but that was still a big deal. (We went to college the year MTV killed the radio star.) We had one old telephone from the ’30s in my Stadium Road apartment. We had to go to “Office Hours” to communicate with a professor; e-mail was decades away.
In my third year, maybe 1982-83, I went to a press conference where Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs’ partner at Apple, donated some of the very early Apple II computers to the University. What department, I wonder, and how were they really used? We College students certainly never saw them again.
It was all very low-tech in those days. Good thing I learned to type (on a borrowed IBM Selectric with the erasable function!)
Clair Frederick (English Language and Literature ’84)
Metcalf Second Right, August 1980:
I arrived at U.Va. an eager first-year student equipped with a brand-spanking-new Olympia ELECTRIC typewriter (Don’t mess with me!), a “hot pot” and a hot-air popcorn popper.
(It took until second year to score a touch-tone phone for our U-Heights apartment!)
Mary Anne Chappell Hughes (Psychology ’84)
Backpack, pen, tennis shoes instead of a car. Good times.
Patricia Hunter (Art History ’84)
It is amazing what a difference a few years (OK, so maybe 28 is more than a few, but who’s counting?) can make for an incoming first-year student.
I remember prior to my arrival at Tuttle dorm in the late summer of 1980, my roommate-to-be and I contacted each other to share some thoughts and plans on what we would each bring to the dorm for our year together. Here is a list of the things that I would consider to be the “technology” items we brought that year:
A Sony component AM/FM/turntable/8-track player (yes, 8-track) stereo that was as large as a good-size suitcase but had less stereo power than most clock radios have today.
A 9-inch screen black-and-white TV with the rabbit ears, as there was no cable in the dorm; needless to say, there was no remote.
An Olivetti Lettera portable manual typewriter with carrying case; no electric keys here.
A 9-inch oscillating fan (no air conditioning back then).
A wind-up alarm clock.
And the most technologically advanced item of them all—a TI-30 scientific calculator, including the ever-stylish carrying case with belt loop.
No cell phones, CD players or iPods (I don’t think any of these were even dreamed about yet) ... no real phone, even, as the only phone jack was out in the suite, and the phone (attached to a very long cord) was shared by all 10 of us ... no laptops or desktop computers or even an electric word processor (although my roommate my third year did have one of those monster Kaypro “portable” word processors that weighed about 50 pounds).
And just to really complete the picture, the family car that I had with me for most of the second semester was a 1975 Pinto hatchback; no air conditioning or power windows here, either. Actually, I had to carry an old broomstick around in the back to hold the hatch open!!!
Hope you enjoy my little trip down memory lane.
Mike Leddy (Government ’84)
That’s an interesting question. ... “What technology did you bring to U.Va. in the fall of 1983?”
When I arrived in Charlottesville for the fall semester of 1983 I had state-of-the-art writing instruments (pens and paper). Before the semester ended I purchased a KayPro II computer from Blue Ridge Computers on Main Street so that I could create my master’s thesis. It had something like 64k of internal memory. Each application had to be loaded via a floppy disk before any real work could begin ... my how things have changed.
Harold Morgan (MAPA ’84)
Technology brought to U.Va. (Emmet dorm) in 1981:
Stereo (which played LPs)
Alarm Clock Radio
Gina Finn (Economics ’85)
As I recall, the only electronic devices I carted to LeFevre were an electric fan, a turntable, a lamp, an electric alarm clock, an iron, a blow dryer and a coffee percolator. The Sony Walkman was invented while I was at U.Va., and everyone just had to have one!
Thanks for asking!
Nancy Moser (English Language and Literature ’85)
I came to Emmet dorm in the fall of 1980 with two electrical items: a hot pot and a record player. The phone was at the end of the hall. I hear that there was a TV in the basement lounge of one of the old dorms, but I never saw it.
Dave Nealon (Anthropology ’84)
Meredith, what a great question!
The extent of the technology I brought to GSAS in 1983 was a portable electric (wow!) Smith Corona typewriter that was so “advanced” it had a cartridge rather than a ribbon. Writing my course papers and even my M.A. thesis, I had to type each one of the drafts, which for the thesis ran to more than 10 drafts.
Although at the time most people still rented their telephones from the phone company, for my apartment I splurged and purchased my first telephone: a Southern Bell desk model that featured push buttons rather than a dial.
The Smith Corona typewriter is long gone, but the Southern Bell phone is still in use in my office.
Deborah Oliver (English Language and Literature ’84)
I brought a TI-30 calculator and an electric typewriter.
Jenny Palazio (Economics ’84)
During my years (CLAS 84) I had a Smith-Corona typewriter (elite font) and a stereo. We all shared the hallway phone in the dorm. Was it really that long ago? And that primitive?
Lissa Roberson (Psychology ’84)
In 1980-1984 I owned no technology. First semester of first year, I brought a typewriter to Lefevre dorm but I don't recall ever using it. The IBM PC was out, and although it was way too costly to own, I would carry around a floppy disk and pay a couple bucks for an hour on the computer and felt ultra-modern!
Garrett Smith (English Language and Literature ’84)
Arriving at Fitzhugh in the fall of 1980, I had with me an electric typewriter, a clock radio and a hand-held calculator. Our suite of ten guys shared a single telephone and a single TV in the common room. The only thing I felt I lacked was an LP record player.
James Starr (English Language and Literature ’84)
Krista Stenger (Biology ’84)
I brought a stereo with a turntable for records and huge speakers that didn't work as well as the small ones do today!
Shelayne Sutton (Psychology ’84)
As a candidate for an M.A. in 1983, I was proud of my Selectric portable typewriter. It cost $400 new. Word-processing was just coming on Grounds those years, but I typed my 100-page thesis on that machine.
Debra Wood (MAPA ’84)
I brought a manual typewriter to the College when I began the Master’s program in Foreign Affairs in 1983, and used it to successfully complete my Master’s Thesis and graduate in 1985. It hardly seems possible now.
Judith Baroody (MA Foreign Affairs ’85)
When I arrived in Charlottesville in August 1981, the most technologically advanced item I brought with me was a Brother electric typewriter. That machine provided a steady income for me throughout my 4 years at UVA as I typed many papers for my fellow students (only a $1.00/page).
Julie Fitzgerald Bingol (Economics ’85)
I remember distinctly the thread-stitched, cloth-covered notebooks I had purchased at a museum store in summer 1981 to use in my art history lectures; they were not practical at all but had lovely British equestrian images that made me feel studious. I arrived alone on move-in day, in an ancient Toyota with no seat belts or air conditioning, and plugged in my solitary appliance: a Clairol True-Light makeup mirror. And yes, even after all these years, I'm still a princess! :)
Seleen Street Collins (Art History ’85)
After reading this e-mail, I suddenly feel quite old. Thanks a lot. “Technology” as I entered my first year at the University in the fall of 1981 consisted of a typewriter, Sony Walkman and a calculator. Students have it made these days!
Steven W. Heimann (German Language and Literature ’85)
Electric typewriter in 1983!
For grad school, a “word processor” which was a fancy electric typewriter with memory that kept crashing—1991.
Michelle Prosser (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’85, MA Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’93)
I brought an old IBM Selectric typewriter from my Dad’s law office....before there was such thing as correction tape, so I still had to erase the typos!
Margaret Frith Ringers (Economics ’85)
I brought a typewriter, calculator and police radar detector.
Ben Sparkman (English Language and Literature ’85)
NONE! In the fall of 1982, I came to Bonnycastle Dorm with nothing in the way of technology. The only thing electric I owned was a clock radio. We used typewriters (that actually were electric) for our papers and I remember thinking how extravagant it seemed to pay someone $1 per page to type my papers for me ... but I did it. Now, my children are more sophisticated than I am. I think I got a Walkman second year (for tapes ... CDs weren’t popular yet)!
Addison Ayer (Psychology ’86)
Fall 1982: a portable electric typewriter, a very large boombox and a briefcase full of cassette tapes.
The biggest technological change for me came in fall of fourth year, when PCs became available in Clemons Library, with WordPerfect. No more typing multiple drafts of papers. I mention that now to colleagues and friends only five years younger, and it just floors them.
Bruce Bishop (Interdisciplinary ’86, Law ’96)
How about nothing? No cell phone, no computer, just an electric typewriter! Good old-fashioned pens and notebooks; when you had to remember something, you wrote it down. The only other things that had electric plugs would be a clock radio, a portable “boombox” stereo with a cassette tape player and an electric fan. The “new” first-year dorms on Alderman Road, of course, did not have air conditioning.
Van T. Chen (Biology ’86, MD ’90)
I was really fortunate to have an Olivetti Praxis 20 electric typewriter when I came to U.Va. in the fall of 1982. This electronic typewriter had interchangeable font wheels, automatic error correction and even accents! (The accents were invaluable for my French, Spanish and Italian classes.) Since it was electronic, it was much quieter and faster than other typewriters. It was also very portable, being slightly larger than a laptop. I used this typewriter for many, many years and was sad when I finally wore it out.
Polly Hutchinson (Foreign Affairs ’86)
Technology? We didn’t have technology in the early to mid-1980s. I brought pens and paper ;>).
David Lackey (College ’86)
None, one clock radio was it. Class of 1986.
Hallie Seibels (Sociology ’86)
An electric typewriter with self-correcting tape. It was the latest!
Elizabeth Snyder (Economics ’86)
Graduated 1986. On arrival in 1982, I brought an electric typewriter. I used to make pocket money typing papers for friends. I recall in 1986 I found out that I could buy a floppy disk (the big 6 inch kind that are now obsolete), go to the e-school and use their computers and printers to type and print out papers. I thought it was so great!
Dorothy Hutcheon Yeager (English Language and Literature ’86)
I started at UVa in 1982 and the only electrically powered devices I brought were a hair dryer, a curling iron and a fan.
Jennifer Young (Foreign Affairs ’86)
Dear Dean Meredith Jung-En Woo,
While 1987 does not seem so “back in the day” as I reflect on your question about technology, it truly appears backward at best. I arrived from Northern Virginia with my Olivetti typewriter. She was sleek, black, and electric with keys that were not elevated. She had erase tape built right in so you just had to push the “back” button for her to dispense some white cover-up. It even had a bit of a memory so you could type up to 20 letters, review it, and then have it type out. She even got repaired at that old typewriter store on Main Street once and came back good as new.
Karen Austin (English Language and Literature ’87, MED Educational Psychology ’92)
A mechanical pencil and a battery-powered calculator.
Tom Battle (Economics ’87)
I brought a manual typewriter and a phone calling card in 1983!
Karen Falconer (Psychology ’87)
A clock radio! (1983)
Catherine Garcia (Psychology ’87)
The only technology I brought with me in 1983 to 1987 was a typewriter and a stereo with a vinyl record player. The guy in the room next to me did have an actual portable computer though – a K-Pro. It looked a bit like this one:
It used DOS and the screen was black and white, text only. Nobody else had any kind of computer.
To write a paper, you wrote it out long-hand and then typed it or hired a typist. To do computer programming if you didn’t have a cool K-Pro, you went to the computer lab and used one there.
I used to hear stories like this from my elders and think they were so very old, but now that I’m the geezer I see just how rapidly things change. That makes me wonder at the technology we’ll probably have in another 20 years.
Rick Hodges (Government ’87)
The “technology” I brought my first year was my stereo – complete with AM/FM radio, cassette AND 8-track, and turntable!
We went to Rose’s to buy a phone (corded, of course).
My, how times have changed!
Debra Hrouda (Psychology ’87)
When I began at the College of Arts & Sciences in 1981, I had my Sharp calculator and lots of pencils and pens and paper. My second year, I bought a portable typewriter with the exciting capability of a correction cartridge. Many a paper was written on my apartment patio with the extension cord for that machine coming out of my second floor window—our early version of a laptop.
That was the extent of it. Now we can’t seem to leave home without our laptop in our bag, our Bluetooth in our ear, and our Palm, BlackBerry or iPhone set to receive all manner of instant text messages and e-mail.
Mary Sproles Martin (English Language and Literature ’87, MEd ’92)
A wind-up alarm clock and a second-hand K-mart stereo.
Beth Myers-Yamamuro (Asian Studies ’87)
A huge cassette player, am/fm radio. Did I actually attend college before cd players were readily available or I was a poor student who couldn’t afford one?
No PC, no dvd, no dvr, no ipod, no cell phone, no texting! And, of course no internet! How did we survive!!
The library had a computer lab of perhaps fifty PCs that undergraduates shared. Of course, if you know someone in the E school, you had access to their computers.
Anne Naccarato (History ’87)
Time tested technology of paper, pen and pencil. Can last for thousands of years if the paper is acid free, the ink is indelible and is kept away from sun, water, coffee, beer and other liquids.
Julie Rasmussen (Slavic Language and Literature ’87)
Great question. My main source of “technology” first year consisted of a behemoth stereo system with four components, plus a turntable ... yes, anyone remember those?
Although I first discovered this thing called “e-mail” in a computer-programming class that fall, I didn't use a computer to write up papers until fourth year, when I borrowed a friend’s desktop. I saw my friend “chatting” with another friend across campus by typing words on the screen and said, “How are you doing that?”
He shrugged and said, “telephone wires.” Little did I know my whole early career would be spent doing just that, managing online chat and other features at America Online.
Thanks for letting me share.
Julia L. Wilkinson (English Language and Literature ’87)
TI calculator and that was it! Didn’t even have typewriter. Had to borrow one.
Linda Anderson (French Language and Literature ’88)
In the fall of ’84, I proudly brought with me, my brand new typewriter WITH a correction key! Also, I went nowhere without my SONY Walkman. The typewriter went the way of most ...in my third year, when a sorority sister (engineering major) introduced me to the wonderful world of word processing on the library computers. Was the program called WordPerfect? ...or did that advancement come later? I only remember that we had to remove and change the 5 ¼” floppy disks every time we wanted to SAVE or SPELLCHECK our work. Also, much to my husband’s chagrin, I believe the turntable that went with me in ’84 to play my LPs is still alive and well in my basement.
Sandy Reif Brown (History ’88)
How scary to think how things have changed in the 24 years since I came to Virginia! There were no iPods, cell phones, laptops, etc. for us to bring to college. Several students had nice stereo systems with record players and were able to make tapes we listened to ... most of us did have some form of tape player/radio in our dorm rooms. CDs were not even around!
As a freshman in 1984, there really was not much to bring in terms of technology ... unless you’re talking about the small appliances which we all coveted (like the small refrigerators some would “rent” from the guys in trucks on move-in day) or a small microwave like some Hancock friends had, which meant you could cook some mac & cheese or ramen noodles ...
No, I don’t think it was until my third year that one of my roommates actually had a PC ... and getting time on the PCs at Clemmons was such a chore I mostly typed my papers myself (on a typewriter no less—not sure my kids have ever seen one of those!) or paid a school secretary to do it for me!
I was there in June for my 20th and like all my visits to Charlottesville (numerous), I could swear to you it hasn’t been all that long ... but when I think about your question, it must have been a VERY long time ago indeed!
Heather Brugh (History ’88)
The only technology I brought was a hair dryer and a TI-35 calculator! We had to pay people to type our papers or use the computer laboratory and I didn’t even know how to save a document to a disk. The 10 of us in our suite in Tuttle Dorm had to share a telephone.
Kathleen Davis (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’88)
On the first day of class, fall 1986, when I entered U.Va. for my M.A., I just brought with me one big notebook, a red and a black pen and my 35-mm camera. That was all the technology I had with me at the time. That day, I remember now, I saw a professor working in front of a computer and using a program called WordPerfect. I was absolutely amazed by it. Twenty-two years have passed since. I now realize how this “discovery” really changed my life forever!
Javier Escudero (MA Spanish ’88, PhD Spanish ’92)
My first year at U.Va. was 1984. I brought an electric typewriter and a battery-operated handheld calculator. For the fall of my fourth year (1987-88), I also brought up-to-date technology ... a push-button phone (not a cordless one, mind you)! Someone else brought an answering machine. The monthly accounting for our landline service from Centel was burdensome. On our floor of 10 people, we painstakingly divided up the monthly charges to the penny, and it seems that the phone bill was always posted on the wall with an angry note asking whoever had made such-and-such long distance call to PLEASE admit to it.
Even in my fourth year, by which time I was using a computer and WordPerfect software (in the Cocke Hall computer room) for most of my papers, I brought the electric typewriter as a backup.
Diane Ferguson (French Language and Literature ’88)
It’s amazing to realize that just 24 years ago none of these items existed but for the computer, which was accessible only through the computer lab. My Bonnycastle dorm room was iFree. I don’t think I’d be able to run my company without them today!
Mary-Lloyd Freisitzer (German Language and Literature ’88)
I’m sure I brought an alarm clock/radio, and I bought what was then called a “boombox.” I may also have brought a calculator, but that’s it. No desktop computer, laptop, iPod, Palm, cell phone, GameBoy, DS, Wii, Nintendo, Playstation, BlackBerry , Bluetooth, Pinkberry, TV. And I swear we paid better attention and had more fun.
Catherine Stuart Greer (English Language and Literature ’88)
I entered the U in the fall of 1984 as a proud owner of a Brother typewriter with -- stop the presses -- 50 characters of memory. This meant that if I discovered an error as I was typing, I could erase up to 50 of the last characters I had typed by just pressing a button. Mistakes discovered after I had gotten beyond 50 characters past the mistake required backing up and using White-Out or white correction papers.
I also had a Sony Walkman for cassettes, and a turntable with a separate double tape deck and receiver and speakers. I would make mix tapes by recording individual songs from LPs off of my turntable.
Finally, each year I had an enormous date book that I kept by my side constantly.
I admit that in my fourth year I broke down and taught myself how to use WordPerfect on the computers in Cocke Hall. I was working on an English thesis that was 70-odd pages and I thought it was an appropriate time to move on from the typewriter. In all my evenings at a terminal that semester, I never figured out that there was a queue for printer documents -- and neither did most of the students working nearby. Every time I sent a document to the two laser printers in the corner of the room, I would go to retrieve it to find that it wasn’t coming out within what I considered to be a reasonable amount of time. Figuring that there was a problem with how I had sent it, I would return to my terminal and send it again. And again. An hour or so later, three copies of my long document would emerge (having been held up by the many copies of everyone else's long documents that had been re-sent several times under similar circumstances).
I also admit that I loved sitting in my room late at night typing on my typewriter and listening to the Smithsonian Classic Jazz collection on LP (studying for Scott DeVeaux's History of Jazz). I just received a beautiful turntable for my birthday this year. The sound of a needle in a groove has not gone out of style in some circles.
Sarah Lyman Kravits (Drama, English Language and Literature ’88)
Excellent question. I brought a Walkman ... to play cassette tapes. That is IT. And I used to borrow my roommate’s Brother typewriter with the little screen at the top that would show the line you just typed. I thought that was pretty advanced.
H. Lynnette Lawson (Foreign Affairs ’88)
I started at U.Va. in the fall of 1984. I brought an electric typewriter and, I think, record player (ha!) and tape player. I wrote tons of papers as an English major and, honestly, just having a typewriter really wasn’t a problem. I think I was able to use computers in the computer labs by third or fourth year. At least in time for my thesis fourth year.
Nona Massengill (English Language and Literature ’88, Law ’92)
When I graduated from high school in 1984, my mother told me that I was going to receive a surprise, something really special, to take with me “up north” to U.Va. As a Floridian, the heaviest winter wear I had in my closet was a nylon jacket with my cheerleading letter appliqued to it. I was sure, as she pointed our station wagon toward downtown Orlando, that my green windbreaker was about to be replaced with a fur coat from LaBelle Furs, which was at the time the only retailer I could think of downtown. I have since come to dislike furs a great deal (especially in Florida), but this was the era of Dynasty and Knots Landing, and I was going to teach Charlottesville a thing or two about style.
I puzzled when the station wagon pulled up in front of Sims Office Supply. What was this? Were we stopping for school supplies, too? My mother led me by the hand to a large display of Smith Coronas. “Betsy, it’s time,” my mother said excitedly, “for you to have your OWN electric typewriter!”
I was underwhelmed, to say the least, even when it was pointed out to me that my new Smith Corona had its own CORRECTING RIBBON! But my trusty electric typewriter saw me through many an all-nighter writing “10 page, double spaced” essays for a four-year succession of ENWR, ENLT and ENGL classes. During my years at Virginia, the personal computer was coming on strong, and by the end of my fourth, I regularly signed up to use one at Clemmons, typing my heart out then sitting back and pressing “Paginate.” Oh, the wonders of auto-pagination! Still, I felt a little sad about my increasing abandonment of my humming, dinging assistant, which was descending farther and farther back in my closet.
Decades later, it’s hard to imagine how I struggled through four years of college without the wonders of Microsoft Word. I’m sure a good four hours of each all-nighter were spent calibrating the space I needed to leave at the bottom of each page for endnotes, and then retyping the whole darn page when I figured wrong.
Perhaps I’m kidding myself that today’s coeds are missing something, some sort of visceral pleasure derived from the rat-a-tat of warm keys striking a fresh new typewriter ribbon, as opposed to the sterile, relatively noiseless process of writing on the PC. I wouldn’t want to go back, but my Smith Corona served me much better than a bunch of rabbit pelts ever could’ve.
Betsy Rogers Owens (Economics, English Language and Literature ’88)
Fall of 1984: my technology was an electric typewriter. But ... my boyfriend had a very early Compaq computer and a fellow who lived downstairs had an Apple (we played far too many games of Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong).
I quickly became the “word processing” go-to girl because I could touch-type.
Sarah Paxton (Classics ’88)
A typewriter and a turntable and albums. We had to use a word-processing lab for papers if we wanted to use “computers.”
John Pearman (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’88)
When I went to college I took my brand new typewriter that I earned my own money for. My “technology jewel” was my record player that could copy record music onto a cassette. This was the newest technology and I had lots of “friends” come to record their LPs for listening to in the car.
The year I graduated, the College started getting their first word processor. I wrote my last paper for college on it for the experience.
Michele Roszell, Dean’s Office (ED ’88)
None of the listed items. Only a typewriter?
Dawn Scott-Judkins (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’88)
I came to U.Va. in the fall of 1984 with a newly released Macintosh 128K with a version of Word and Excel and a printer. The Mac was small, used a small floppy disk and was plenty powerful for the time. I used this computer all four years and my trusty Mac is still somewhere in the attic. The printer was large dot matrix, and printer paper had tear-off sides with holes to feed the paper through the printer. I was one of the few first-year students to have a personal computer at the time. I also had a Sony Walkman, which played regular-sized cassette tapes, but it was bulky and not terribly useful for anything other than sitting in my dorm room.
MaryMoss Walker (Economics ’88)
That is a great question! I lived in Tuttle in 1984-1985 (CLAS ’88) and our technology was more traditional, a stereo and a popcorn popper. I lived with a basketball player (Derrick Simms) and we were lucky in that we also had a 13-inch TV and VHS VCR! Back then we “rented” our refrigerators from the fraternities that would descend on the dorms the first weekend. The other plus was that Derrick was 19 and could buy beer at the Treehouse, but that is another story.
In 1984, the first computer lab was in place at the Engineering School and had a bunch of 286 computers donated by AT&T. Most of the classes were in Basic and Pascal programming, as applications like MS Office were not yet on the scene. We also had to go to the creepy basement of one of the E-School buildings to get a giant floppy disk that cost around $7. I remember this was also a lot of money to us first-years and we were all bitter about it since most of the book money from our parents was long since depleted. In many of the computer classes, you still had to go to the old lab and use a dummy terminal that connected to the U.Va. mainframe computer and would have to wait while it “compiled and processed” your work.
Sometime in my first year, I was lucky enough to get a Burroughs (who?) “mini” computer that someone had given my father. A lot of us used it for word processing, but unfortunately there was a power spike in the dorm a few months later and that was the end of its useful life. Surge protectors had also not yet hit the market.
Hope you enjoy this, I enjoyed thinking about it again.
John Wheeler (Economics ’88)
When I arrived at U.Va. in the fall of ’84, I had a state-of-the-art, all-in-one audio cassette player and record turntable with AM/FM radio. It was the bomb! I also had a fancy typewriter with a liquid crystal screen, which previewed a WHOLE LINE of type, before printing it to paper. This saved immensely on white-out, as you can imagine. There was a computer lab at U.Va., but you had to buy your own floppy disc, and know how to format it. The latter stumped me, so I stuck with the typewriter.
In my dorm, we all pooled our money to get a phone in the common area. It had buttons and was mustard yellow. It had a really long cord so we could drag it into our dorm rooms. Of course, there was no call-waiting or answering machine on it. If no one was around, it just rang and rang.
Kylie Wright (Studio Art ’88)
In the late summer of 1985, I descended upon C’ville with the newly developed Day-Timer that was to serve as my organizational guru. I was also excited to have a touch tone phone- with cord, of course- so I could so some serious dialing. I did not have a TV, but that was fine, the tape deck in my boombox would carry me through. Pretty sure I would do it all over again with the same stuff…
Paul Barbieri (Economics ’89)
I had a portable “word-processor” typewriter about the size of a laptop that had about a 30-character monochrome LCD window. If you were within the window, what you typed could be corrected before it printed.
Cameron Ippolito (English Language and Literature ’89)
I started at the University in the fall of 1985 and I brought: a telephone that plugged into the wall and had a corded handpiece (I only used this to call home once a week on Sundays), a calculator, a Sony Walkman with radio and cassette player, and I felt very cutting edge with one of the few CD players in my dorm! No computer (we went to the library to use those and typed in “wp” to get a word processing program), certainly no cell phone, and no TV---we went to the suite downstairs to watch Letterman. Those were the days!
Carol DeVault Lahey (English Language and Literature ’89)
I must have brought a camera because I have some great (and scary) photos from the dorm. Don’t ask me where I got the film developed.
I do remember one very “high tech” item in 1985—a mirror that had three light settings so a girl could get her make-up just right for morning, afternoon or night.
Laura McArtor (Philosophy ’89)
I don’t think that we would have used the term “technology” to identify my stereo system with individual receiver, cassette tape and compact disk components and two speakers! But, we certainly enjoyed playing music on it in our triple in Fitzhugh.
Kristin (Pfister) Rappe (Foreign Affairs ’89)
When I started at UVa in the fall of 1985, I brought with me an electric typewriter! I used that to write papers my entire first year -- with carbon paper! Not a lot of room for mistakes! It wasn’t until my second year that a friend taught me how to use a computer. For the next three years, I typed my papers on computers in the computer labs, using WordPerfect in DOS.
For entertainment purposes, I believe I brought a radio with a tape deck and a Minolta 35mm SLR camera to take photographs of my experiences at UVa. The camera, at least, still is useful!
Michele Rohleder (Anthropology, English Language and Literature ’89)
The only technology I brought was a typewriter that was my graduation present in 1985 and a telephone with a cord. The only way to get phone service was to stand in line for hours at the local phone company office along with every other UVA student.
Kari Thomas (Commerce ’89)
I brought a word processor and a water heater. I ended up using my roommate Tina Fey’s Apple Macintosh for all my papers despite the headache-causing noise of the attached needle printer (5 minutes per page). The water heater served perfectly to almost burn canned ravioli.
Freundliche Grüße / Best Regards
Karina von Detten (got married two months ago. My name used to be Karina von Bentivegni) (French Language and Literature ’90)
I arrived with a Macintosh, with a whopping 512K of memory and two 400 KB floppy drives. And a 1200 baud modem. I also had a dot-matrix printer and a typewriter as a backup. I bought a 10 MB hard drive the next year.
Joel Smith (MA Philosophy ’90)
As a graduate student in English, I brought index cards, Liquid Paper, and a bicycle. Yikes.
Charlotte Morford (MA English Language and Literature ’90)
Uhh, let’s see ... My first year I was thrilled to have this beautiful plastic pink phone that was all mine after years of sharing with two sisters! I think by third year I splurged and bought an extremely modern typewriter that had incredible memory capability—allowing you to type an entire line and make corrections before printing it out and moving on to the next line!
Melissa Schimke-Garland (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’90)
I brought an electric typewriter, an analog land phone (I did not know it was a land phone then) and a cassette player Walkman player to use when I ran. The typewriter quickly became a relic during my time at U.Va. and I discovered the joys of the computer in the computer lab off the Lawn.
Catherine McSorley (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’90)
My roommate first year brought a “Brother” typewriter, which we thought was amazing. It had a screen that let you proofread the last 12 characters you had typed before they printed on the page, so you could make changes or corrections—as long as you realized the mistake within 12 characters!
Tracey Mackey (History, Spanish ’90)
1986—First year the most advanced technology I owned was a calculator and an alarm clock I’d had since 1978. It had a broken snooze button for which I was grateful. … I never learned to “snooze” because I had to get up on the first buzz.
1987 —Second year I brought a Walkman cassette player.
1988 —Third year I finally got a hand-me-down computer; a Zenith eazy-PC with a floppy drive and keyboard for an MS-DOS interface.
1989 —Fourth year I got another hand-me-down, a dot-matrix printer so I didn’t have to use the computer lab.
I just bought an iPhone that is probably to my Zenith what my Zenith was to the 1969 space program. Thanks for the memories.
Ann Marie Ludlow Gardner (English Language and Literature ’90)
I was the proud owner of a Brother Word Processor (that’s all it did, process words!); while I still have some papers stored on those disks, I don't suppose I’ll ever be able to retrieve them.
I also remember going home to NC when my mother had surgery in April of 1990. I had a paper due in Mark Edmundson’s class and worked it out with him to fax the paper to some tech center on Grounds where my roommate would go pick it up and deliver it to him; I think he said it was the first paper he’d ever received by fax! I don’t remember if it was at all legible.
(Catherine) Deming Herbert (English Language and Literature ’90)
I brought a really cool electric typewriter when I arrived in Charlottesville in the fall of 1986. It would even white out your typos for you (as long as you realized your mistake before you hit the return key). Of course I never used it, since my roommate had a computer (two floppy drives, no hard drive) that you could use for “word processing.” I never looked back.
John Stinneford (English Language and Literature ’90)
I arrived at UVA in the fall of 1987 with a dual cassette boom box and an electric typewriter I received for graduation.
Saunji Fyffe (Sociology ’91)
I started at UVA with an electric typewriter in 1987...that’s all.
Susan Pitorak (Economics ’91)
I love your question! When I came to U.Va. in the fall of 1987, I had a Walkman with a “Steely Dan” cassette in it. The headphones were a metal headband with those giant foam covers; they looked like earmuffs. I had to type my psych and English papers in a basement lab with MS-DOS. We wrote reminders/dates/phone numbers on our hands with pens.
Projectors rolled on AV carts with those shopping-cart wheels, unlike the high-tech ones that hang from every classroom ceiling now. My 8-year-old works her iPod and wants a Mac more than anything.
Christine Lawson (Psychology ’91)
When I entered the University in the fall of 1987, I had absolutely no “technology” with me whatsoever, save perhaps a hand-held calculator. The first computer I ever touched was a first-year hall-mate’s Apple computer. I remember thinking if I hit the wrong button, I might somehow break it. My, how times have changed.
Staci Henderson (Psychology ’91)
I bought a Mac Classic. My father is a techno geek and wanted me to have an Apple.
Aimee Freeman (English Language and Literature ’91)
13-inch black and white TV
By fourth year (fall 1990) I had a “laptop” that weighed about 20 pounds along with a dot-matrix printer.
How did we ever get by?
Pete Williams (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’91)
First year we were excited just to have voice mail, and it was rare if you had a CD collection ...
Chris Noble (Foreign Affairs ’91)
An answering machine!
Debi Krulak (Drama ’91)
Oh my goodness, are you serious? I had my roommate type a paper for me with his typewriter! (And this was 1988.) I had a good backpack, and maybe a (nonscientific) calculator. I carried a small stapler with me—oh, that often came in handy!
My third and fourth years, my roommate had a Mac. But other than that, it was the computer lab for me. I often used the engineering lab, as that had extra spaces.
No, I wonder how life would have been with cell phones—we had five guys living in an apartment with one phone.
Hard to imagine that I was living in such a low-tech world!
Mark Louderback (History ’92)
My brand new word processor
Lisa Mackem (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’92)
As an undergrad, I came to U.Va. with a Brother electronic typewriter and plenty of correction ribbon (White-Out was rather messy), a “little black book,” and a desktop calendar. The computer labs were rather scary since most of my experiences with DOS-based WordPerfect led to errors I couldn’t troubleshoot; I’m sure the lab staff ran the other way when they saw me coming. I preferred to type all my papers and reports on the typewriter in the comfort of my dorm room. When I returned to U.Va. as a graduate student, I bought my first home PC and got my first email account. How ironic that I now do computer programming for a living.
Gracie Roberson (Psychology ’92, Med Counselor Education ’02)
I bought a box fan for the window. I thought I was living in high cotton because my roommate had an Apple computer (the old ones with maybe a 12” screen). Of course, this was in the late ’80s. I remember wondering what the big deal was about getting an email address (I was in the Curry program for a while) when the only people I knew who had an email address were sitting in the computer lab with me. I wonder what my two (5 & 7) will take with them when they head off to college - and if it's even been invented yet!
Jennifer Whitlock (Psychology, History ’92)
When I moved into Dunnington in the fall of 1988, I brought with me what I considered then to be a technological marvel: a combination black-and-white TV, AM/FM radio, and cassette player. The TV screen was perhaps 25 square inches, and clearly picked up, via an ANTENNA, exactly one channel. Oh, and I also had a makeup mirror and a steam iron that each had three different settings. With all that and a hotpot, I had it made.
When I moved out of (then) Monroe Hill Residential College four years later, I had added a Brother brand word processor with a daisy wheel, a two-speaker stereo that had TWO cassette decks AND a CD player, about five music CDs, and a PROGRAMMABLE coffee maker. I knew all the commands for WordPerfect by heart because I wrote almost all my papers in a computer lab, having discovered that printing a 5-page paper on a word processor at 3:00 in the morning tends to not please one’s roommate.
And today I am writing this email on a Macintosh laptop and sending it via high-speed wireless internet, while watching television brought to my home by a satellite and recorded by a DVR. I hope I'm never unable to embrace new technology!
Deborah (Scott) Hill (Astronomy, French Language and Literature ’92)
I brought with me in 1989 a Brother word processor, an answering machine and a boom box. And my photos were in hardcopy. It’s amazing how quickly things change.
LeShaun Quander-Mosley (Psychology ’93)
The only high-tech items I came to school with in 1989 were a clock/radio and a discman!
Lori Werth (Commerce ’93)
Fall 1989, won’t ever forget it. I brought an IBM XT computer with me. I had “upgraded” it with a whopping 10 megabyte hard drive so that I didn't have to switch 5.25 floppys to do spell check on the word processor. I also bought the amber screen monitor to reduce eye fatigue...my roommate swore the thing ran on nuclear power given how loud it was. It also had the old-style keyboard that clicked every time I made a keystroke...definitely not the best roommate friendly option...my RA was in the e-school, he had an Apple Mac and used to pack it up and plug it into other peoples Macs to do things...we had no idea what that was all about...
My roommate contributed an alarm clock with two alarm settings! Nice...
Otherwise, we had a radio, and it didn’t play cds (tapes with auto reverse!), there was only one guy in the suite that had cds really, but he had lots and we listened to his stuff. No tv, no microwave, one phone per room and it was corded and no answering machine.
I work at a college now, so I know what students are bringing to school. They must think we were positively roughing it!
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I am envious of all the first-years arriving now. I hope they will find their time at the University to be meaningful and enriching.
Chris Foley (Chemistry ’93, PhD Education ’03)
I showed up at college with a Walkman and a bike.
Kevin Skinner (Economics ’93)
I was at the height of music technology with my combination CD player/tape boom box!
Stephanie A. Johnson (Drama, English Language and Literature ’93)
I think my most exciting technology that I brought with me was a CD player that had a carousel for six discs. State of the art! I had to request an e-mail address from the Computer Science Department my junior year, and that was so I could find out where the good out-of-state raves were (ha). Got my first computer (Apple’s first color laptop!) as a graduation present in 1993. It had an 80 MB hard drive.
Michael Tuminello (Asian Studies, English Language and Literature ’93)
It was 1989 and I brought an Apple IIc, a Sony Walkman and a boombox with a CD player.
Andrew Tronick (Foreign Affairs, Spanish ’93)
Tandy computer, complete with big bulky green-screen monitor and dot-matrix printer ;-)
Melissa Farmer Richards (Rhetoric and Communication Studies, Spanish ’93)
In the fall of 1990, I brought with me a Brother word processor machine—basically an electric typewriter with a small green-and-black screen that could show about 10-12 lines of text and store the documents to a floppy. When it “printed,” the typewriter part would shake the whole desk. I also brought an answering machine and a cassette player/radio.
Caroline Mattson Swindell (Astronomy Physics ’94)
I brought a “Brother” word processor, and I was lucky.
Amalie Derdeyn (Psychology ’94, MD ’03)
When I came to U.Va. in 1990, I brought an electric typewriter. Probably by second year, definitely by third, I was using WordPerfect in the computer lab in Cocke Hall to write papers. I got my first e-mail address at some point, probably around ’93?
Lea Marshall (English Language and Literature, French Language and Literature ’94)
I brought my Tandy PC with me when I entered the College in fall 1990. I was one of a handful of people on my hall to actually have their own computer and printer in their room! Needless to say, I was popular when it came to late night and a paper due the next day.
Jennifer Crone (Stewart) (Spanish ’94)
I did not bring a laptop or desktop PC to U.Va. when I attended, mainly because there were enough computer labs to accommodate my needs. I did not yet have a Palm Pilot, an iPod or any type of cell phone until years later. I wish I could have taken my classroom notes on a laptop, or called home for free on nights and weekends via cell phone. What a difference 14 years make!
Carrie Treagy (Psychology, Sociology ’94)
When I entered as a first year in fall 1990, I arrived on the Grounds with no technology. I lived in the McCormick Road dorms, so I was lucky that both the Engineering and Psychology computer labs were nearby. I used the Engineering lab more because it had computers available.
I bought a radio with dual cassettes and a CD player once I got my first credit card. I still have the radio in my basement to show my stepdaughters what “high-tech” was almost 20 years ago!
Sandra (Lee) Rhodes (Mathematics ’94)
I brought a laptop computer when I matriculated in 1990 as a first-year student. I remember being one of only a few in my dorm with a laptop.
Laura Gesicki-Wood, M.D. (Biology, English Language and Literature ’94, MD ’99)
A large desktop computer whose manufacturer is long gone, with memory that barely could maintain WordPerfect and Tetris—and a calling card with the low rate of $.50/minute.
Stacy Ison (History ’94)
A pad, a pen, a few bucks. I didn’t know what a floppy disk was in 1994.
Christopher Jordan (Economics ’94)
In 1990, I took a 12” TV and stereo (tuner, cd changer, and cassette deck) with me to my dorm. My roommate and I were living large because we could get 3 over-the-air TV stations. At Christmas, I got a word processor and push-button phone to take back with me.
Brad Wilson (Foreign Affairs ’94)
An Apple 2C (yes, the one with the tiny black and white monitor) and a dot matrix printer. I was ahead of my time.
Angela Blakey (Psychology ’94)
In 1991, I brought what was even then a moderately archaic, stand-alone “word processing machine” that featured a tiny, 5-by-8-inch gray screen that displayed glowing orange type. When you finished your document, you loaded your paper, pressed the “print” button, and were jarred by the staccato of a modified typewriter assembly (literally) banging out the printed document. (The machine even took a ribbon!)
Louise Ogilvie Snyder (Government, Women’s Studies ’94)
It was the fall of 1991 when I lugged an enormous (relative to today’s standards) Apple IIe desktop computer complete with a floppy drive (remember when discs were actually “floppy”) and loaded with WordPerfect software. I also brought along my Texas Instruments graphing calculator ... just in case! Does a calling card count as technology?? Without cell phones, how else did a first year call home?
Neile Maloney Hartman (Economics, French Language and Literature ’95)
Super question. I brought a typewriter and a boombox in 1991. The stereo had dual cassettes, and I thought I was cool. By the fall of the next year, I bought a genuine IBM PC with a 20 MB hard drive (smaller than my gmail account!) and a 286 processor.
Tim Nee (History ’95)
My first year at U.Va. was 1991, and I arrived with a Brother word processor (advanced because you could type a paragraph on the screen and edit it before printing) and small television for my dorm room! By Christmas, my parents “upgraded” my entertainment unit to include a VCR so that my suite could watch movies together. My roommate had an Apple PC and I was terrified of all those “box-thingies” (windows) that seemed to pop up whenever she hit any keys! When my mother decided to buy me my own computer during my third year, I told her to buy me anything but an Apple, thinking only Apples had those “box-thingies.” Imagine my surprise when I plugged in my new Compaq PC and up came the first generation of Windows! In my second year, my parents installed a car phone in my car, which was HUGE and definitely not portable. By the time my fourth year rolled around, an English professor required each of us to go to the computer lab and open our University e-mail accounts. He insisted that we utilize e-mail to submit class discussion questions, group answers, etc. Wow—we were all so put out, not to mention totally confused about having to do that!
Windley Walden (English Language and Literature ’95)
In the fall of 1991, I brought a 286 PC that I had built a couple of months before and a dot-matrix printer. A number of the guys in my suite at Balz didn’t have PCs so they typed up their papers on my PC. This computer was named “Abulafia” after a computer with the same name in the book Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco.
Stephen Yoder (Anthropology, History ’95)
I remember arriving at Maupin in the fall of 1992 with a very clunky word processor, a push-button phone that my roommate and I shared and a boombox with dual tape decks. By my second year, we had graduated to a CD player and I had taken to writing all my papers on the PCs in Cocke Hall, which I continued to use through graduation. Talk about “old school.”
Kate Winslow (History ’96)
A 486 desktop computer and a HP inkjet printer. No cell phone, no pager.
Jesse Rosenthal (Economics, Government ’96)
Scott London (MD ’96)
When I arrived as a grad student in physics in 1989, the most advanced technological devices I brought were a digital wristwatch, a solar-powered calculator and a slide rule. Joseph D. Rudmin (MS Physics ’96)
I brought a Lexmart computer, a dot-matrix printer, a 7-inch TV and a Walkman. You could probably count my window fan, too. My neighbor’s daughter left Saturday for U.Va., and she will have A/C and an elevator, not to mention her iPod and cell phone. Some things have changed.
Fortune Blain (Archaeology, Astronomy ’97)
I matriculated at U.Va. in 1993. Dating myself, I came with an electric typewriter, notebooks, pencils and pens. I only just got rid of that typewriter this past year, when I finished my residency!
I did, however, by the end of my four years at U.Va., have an IBM compatible desktop. I now own an iBook Mac, which I *love*.
Long P. Huynh (Asian Studies, Biology ’97)
My Macintosh desktop computer, and that’s it. That was in 1994.
Jennifer Wieland (Government ’97, Law ’02)
I brought an IBM Thinkpad laptop in the fall of ’93. I loved taking it with me to the study room in the Bonnycastle House basement to do papers. Most people had desktops, I was one of the lucky few who was able to take my computer wherever I wanted.
Ashley Stathos (Government ’97)
Coming to U.Va. as a first-year student in the late summer of 1994, I brought a Mac laptop and printer. I was issued a University e-mail address (I believe it was something like ), and someone came to wire my Bonnycastle room for
“Ethernet” access. I never used either and manged to avoid all things “e” until my fourth year. If you can imagine, I spent an entire semester abroad without emailing a single friend or family member. Finally, I was forced to overcome my technophobia when a professor insisted we use email for class assignments and I needed to apply for post-graduation jobs using the Internet, which my friend had to teach me to use. Now, of course, like everyone else, I can’t imagine life without any of it. How things change in ten years!
Jill Gaffey-Sclafani (English Language and Literature ’98)
In the fall of 1994, I came to campus with a Gateway x486 PC with 8 MB of RAM. I had to take it somewhere in Page dorm to get an Ethernet card installed so I could enjoy the newly wired dorm rooms.
Kevin King (Economics ’98)
I brought NOTHING in the fall of 1994. I didn’t learn about e-mail until my first week of college—the University gave us e-mail called “PCMail” ... and didn’t know about the Internet until midway through the first semester when I realized that you can get all kinds of sports information through espn.com. Times they are a-changin’...
Welcome, Dean Woo :)
David Larry Kim (Psychology ’98)
I don’t think I brought ANY technology with me when I began my first year in the fall of 1994. I brought a mini-fridge (won at my high school grad party raffle), along with a “boombox.” How dated is that?
E-mail didn’t really hit till second year. Thanks for the trip down memory lane ...
Karen Elligers (Psychology ’98, Law ’06)
I came to U.Va. in the fall with no computer, laptop or cell phone. But I had no problem because we had access to the computer lab in the dorms next to where we lived and it was more than adequate for me.
Saadia Chaudhry (History ’98)
I came to campus with an alarm clock and a Walkman, and I remember buying my first 2.88 MB floppy disk at the University Bookstore. I bought a plastic protective case for it so I wouldn’t damage it and lose my work!
Jenn Sloggie-Pierce (English Language and Literature ’99)
My Toshiba 486 laptop and a graphing calculator
Christine Wilson (Psychology ’99)
Phil Brown (Economics’99)
In the fall of 1995, I brought a 13-inch TV for my dorm room. My roommate brought the desktop PC. There were no cell phones, iPods, etc. I also had my discman to play the few CDs I had at the time. My Palm Pilot back then was a Day-Timer calendar that I carried in my book bag to handwrite due dates of assignments.
Erica Peck Nickens (Government ’99)
I brought a desktop computer that I shared with my roommate—and we weren’t able to get the Ethernet card to work so we had to check e-mail at the computer lab or on a friend’s computer! What a different world!
Kathryn Guthrie (Economics, Government ’99, Darden ’04)
The only “tech” I was able to bring with me that first fall was a box fan for the window and an old slide rule.
Will Dougherty (Biology ’99)
In the fall of 1996, I arrived with my large, cumbersome, green desktop computer. I distinctly remember sending my first e-mail and going to my first website from my dorm room via “Ethernet” and being totally amazed. What a difference a decade makes.
Josh Griffin (History, Religious Studies ’00)
If I didn’t have my daily planner/agenda, there is no way I would have been able to keep track of my daily workload, much less graduate! These kids have it easy with Palm Pilots, cell phones and Wi-Fi Internet.
Randall Emory (Astronomy, Mathematics ’00)
My first year at U.Va. was in the fall of 1996. The only “school-related” technology I brought with me was a calculator. I didn’t even get a computer until my second year. Thanks!
Melissa Lee Coles (Government ’00)
I had only a CAR phone--for the long drives back and forth to Georgia. Upon arriving, the bookstore delivered a dinosaur-sized desktop to my dorm room. The conversion from paper to computer was largely due to the lack of writing space hostility taken over by the monstrosity called a monitor.
Courtney Blackburn (Religious Studies ’00)
I came to the University in August of 1996 with a clunky desktop computer that ran Windows 92. Email was still new to me, and at the time the University was transitioning from Unix to newer application, a precursor to Mulberry (the name starts with an ‘s’ but I can’t recall it). Our dorm rooms had phones, but no one had cell phones that I knew of; the movie “Clueless” had just come out a few years (or maybe even one year) prior, and so the idea of having a personal cell phone still seemed foreign. We were supposed to be the computer generation, and felt conversant with software in ways our parents were -- but today’s technology makes what we used seem Jurassic, and today’s kids are much more connected by computers than we were at their age.
Heather McMahon (Archaeology, English Language and Literature ’00, MARH Architectural History ’06)
When I started at UVa in 1997, I brought with me a new Dell tower -- a Pentium II, 200 MHtz machine that was at the time the fastest computer I’d ever used before. I had a 14” CRT monitor. I also had a laserjet printer.
No cell, no palm, no laptop.
Andrew Leaver-Fay (Cognitive Science, Philosophy ’01)
As a CLAS ’01 graduate I kept things “old school.” I brought my books, a pen and notepad, and a mini tape recorder to tape the lectures.
Thanks for the updates.
May Natalie Holstad (English Language and Literature ’01)
My TI-82 graphing calculator that I’ve used since seventh grade. It doesn’t easily fit in a pocket, but I still use it to this day for a quick math check (although nowadays I have to hit it a few times for the thing to turn on).
Mark Repsher (Economics, Spanish ’01)
As a first year, I had no technology coming into U.Va—just a binder with lots of paper and plenty of pens. I believe I bought my first laptop around my third year.
Shayla McGee (Afro-American and African Studies, French Language and Literature, Government ’01)
A desktop computer, with a big, fat monitor of course; a stereo with break-apart speakers and five-CD changer, and a book of CDs. ... I wish we had iPods!!!
Megan Cliff (Environmental Sciences ’01)
In fall 2000 when I came to U.Va., I just had my bare-bones cell phone and a tape recorder for my class lectures.
Erin Chambers Holbrook (English Language and Literature, Religious Studies ’02)
I had a desktop computer during my first year at U.Va. By my third year, I also had a cell phone for “emergency” purposes.
Meredith Fagan (Anthropology, Biology ’02)
I brought a computer (desktop). Think that’s it=)
Genevieve Siegel-Hawley (History, Sociology ’02)
I began my first year at U.Va. in the fall of 1998. It is hard to believe that 10 years have now passed. What is even harder to believe is how today’s students mostly take laptops to colleges and even classrooms now. I remember buying my bulky $1,200 desktop right before the start of classes and had to pay for an Ethernet card to be installed separately for something called “high-speed Internet” available in all dorm rooms. At home, I relied on my modem for hours of downloading. Little did I know that within a year, I would be introduced to Napster and the world of MP3 downloading, which was all the craze in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Ten years later—I pay for my downloads and carry a light laptop everywhere. How times have changed. ...
Mohsin Raza Syed (Foreign Affairs, History ’02, Law ’08)
I did buy a new iBook laptop from the bookstore and scoffed at those few people who thought they were cool enough to have a cell phone. Only a few short years later I would be one of those people.
Daniel McMains (Religious Studies ’02)
Sweet 386 IBM computer that couldn’t play MP3s.
Classy black Casio digital wristwatch with matching vinyl band.
1979 Horseless carriage with custom CD player.
William Lehmann (Anthropology, Archaeology ’02)
My first semester I had an IBM Selectric typewriter. Professors stared at my papers as if I had handed them cuneiform tablets. I soon upgraded to a Mac Plus. TTFN
Walter Kirkconnell (PhD Religious Studies ’02)
Dear Dean Woo,
When I arrived for grad school back in the day, I carried my trusty obsidian hand-axe and my slate for writing on. Since I was a T.A., I also brought a club, to pound messages into the students’ heads.
Seriously: It was 1986. Reagan was President. I did have a computer (a Compaq) for word processing, and stored my documents on 5 1/4-inch floppy disks. I also had a Diablo daisy-wheel printer. It was state-of-the-art; I was very proud of it. Of course there was no email or internet. My husband and I brought our old stereo system down, but soon replaced our turntable with one of the first CD players, which, actually, is still going strong. I think we also got our first push-button phone then. We'd previously opted for rotary because push-button cost extra before it became standard. Since we we couldn’t afford a car that ran all the time, we drove a Nissan Sentra, which didn’t. Once settled, we acquired a 1986 chestnut Oriental Shorthair cat. Her name was Katja and she ran for 20 years on feistiness and kibbles.
Cora Schenberg (PhD German Language and Literature ’03), Lecturer, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
I brought a Gateway laptop with a Pentium II processor running at 300 MHz with a 4 GB hard drive and 128 MB of RAM. For contrast, I now own a laptop with two processors running at 2000 MHz each with a 160 GB hard drive and 1 GB of RAM. My current laptop cost about $1,000 new, the laptop I brought to U.Va. cost about $2,000 used.
I’m pretty sure that was it—no cell phone, no MP3 player. It’s amazing to think it was only five years ago!
Richard Davis (Philosophy, Studio Art ’03)
Back in the fall of ’99 I came on strong with a desktop computer, Sony Discman and alarm clock. Precious little else.
Adam Austin (Religious Studies ’03)
The day I arrived at U.Va. (in the fall of 2000), there was a new computer waiting for me in my dorm room. It was the first time I’d ever had access to or even witnessed high-speed Internet, and the first time I was able to play a DVD on a computer. Miraculous! I also toted a big, blank, clunky cell phone that got almost zero reception and spent most of its time sitting in my desk, uncharged and unused. (My mother insisted I bring it “just in case.”) It would be a couple more years before I started using my cell phone as more than a paperweight!
Marisa Hoheb (Anthropology, Media Studies ’04)
I have a computer. In fact, even after all my years as a student here, I think I still have the same one. Nothing else. And I’ve managed to earn a couple of master’s degrees and most of a teaching certification.
Janet Danforth (MA Bioethics, Religious Studies ’04)
My first year, I brought my desktop PC and a CD player. By the second year, I had an mp3 player as well.
Sharon Lynch (English Language and Literature ’04)
A computer, laptop and a phone.
Melvin Massey (Sociology ’05)
My first year, 2001, not one thing—an alarm clock, microwave, fridge, iron—lol
Victoria Chandler (Spanish ’06)
Just a computer and CD player.
Kai Parham (Kayode) (African American Studies ’06)
In 2003—what seems like an entire era ago in technological terms—I brought my portable CD player and my brand new laptop. I didn’t even get my own cell phone until 2004!
Victoria Powell (Interdisciplinary-Neuroscience ’07)
When I was a student at the University of Virginia, I brought my laptop and separate speakers, cell phone, iPod.
Dominique Baker (Psychology ’08)
1977 Volkswagen Westfalia Camper, terrible Gateway laptop that convinced me to switch to Mac, rock tumbler, shelf my uncle made me containing an eclectic assortment of countercultural books.
Ryan Blair (Philosophy ’08)
I brought laptop, ipod, tv, and cellphone with me.
Jae Lee (Foreign Affairs ’08)
I brought my Dell Latitude D610 laptop purchased through the school, an 80 gig iPod classic video and a 500 gig Lacie external hard drive.
Miles Carey (Chemistry-Biochemistry ’09)
When I first came in fall ’06, I brought my Bose iPod dock. It turned out to be really entertaining in the dorms; I remember distinctly I once played Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’” and left my room but I still heard it clearly down the 20-room hallway! I guess they are the best speakers in the world.
Erin Sulla (Government ’10)
As one of the oldest students on campus, I can remember a time when being on the leading edge of technology meant carrying a slide rule in a bright orange leather case. I did my undergraduate work quite a bit west of here at the University of Notre Dame. I arrived on campus in 1969 with a single suitcase and a footlocker that held my manual typewriter, a clock radio, my high tensor lamp and my slide rule. That is a far cry from what I brought here to U.Va. for the master’s program in which I am now enrolled. I have a Dell laptop with greater capacity than the IBM 360 that once occupied whole rooms of the math building back at Notre Dame. I have a wireless router that connects me to the Internet and a cell phone that links me to my home in South Carolina. While I enjoy the new technological toys, my bookshelves are still filled with genuine, old-fashioned, hard-bound books. The mind remains the chief piece of technology any student brings to this campus.
Charles McParland (MA Religious Studies ’11)
Fall of 1980, a fan.
Zanna Meyers (2010 parent)
A Sony Walkman, a boom box for cassettes, and an electric typewriter!
We rented a pushbutton phone from Ma Bell, and there was a pay phone in the hall.
I don’t think any one had a tv.
By the end of college, I wrote some papers on a Tektronix terminal with neon green letters in a computer lab.
Angeline Lillard, Professor of Psychology
Scott and I took a one-week intensive class last January and the only “technology” we brought with us were ball point pens and legal pads.