AITP-EDSIG Distinguished Fellow
Dr. Don Colton
Brigham Young University HawaiiI am pleased and honored to be named an EDSIG Fellow. I know it is mostly a result of all the people I have been privileged to work with. I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. The EDSIG board has been wonderful these past ten years. They are each uniquely different and yet curiously all the same. They are the same in their love for this organization. They are the same in their commitment to do what it takes to make EDSIG a success. They are the same in their desire to advance the careers of EDSIG members by making them better teachers, better mentors, and better professionals. I love them for it. I am grateful to have been a part of that.
I am sure that very few readers will make it past the first paragraph, so, for those of you that are still here, I think I will take a stroll down memory lane.
- 1971 - just out of High School, I wrote my first computer program. The language was FORTRAN and it was love at first sight. I was soon hired by my teacher as a student programmer, thus continuing my nerdy ways. (In high school I was president of the Chess Club.) I completed my BS in Mathematics in 1976, after serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korea from 1973 to 1975.
- 1975 - I married my sweetheart, Lois.
- 1976 to 1978 - I attempted to broaden my background and earnings potential by earning an MBA. The job I took put me right back in programming, not management, this time in COBOL at Texas Instruments. Technical skills trumped business education. We had our second child.
- 1980 - I joined a consulting company in Boston. While in Boston I started teaching as an adjunct, one or two nights per week. Never did I imagine that would happen. I needed a masters degree to be able to teach. My MBA paid off.
- 1984 - I went to work for Microsoft as a programmer, and then a program manager, and then a tech support manager. By 1988 I was “between jobs.” Never did I imagine that would happen.
- 1988 - I transitioned from industry to education. I took a two-week contract to finish out a term for a teacher that had suddenly quit at Griffin College, a small business school in Seattle. Two weeks stretched into five years. I became chairman of the Computer Programming major. Never did I imagine that would happen. 1991 our sixth child was born.
- 1993 - Griffin closed its doors. I enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Oregon Graduate Institute. At OGI I studied computer-based automatic speech recognition. Never did I imagine any of that would happen.
- 1997 - I graduated from OGI with a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering. I became an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University Hawaii. Never did I imagine that would happen. Apparently I don't have much imagination.
- 1999 - I needed an academic conference to attend. My dean suggested ISECON, and not knowing any better, I said yes. I went to Chicago. I joined AITP and EDSIG. And I met Bill Tastle who, upon the recommendation of Sam Luke, offered me the job of Proceedings Editor for ISECON 2000. What were they thinking?
- 2000 - I did edit the proceedings. I continued in that role through 2009. I had a great time, but was rather bull-headed. 2000 was the first year we published on CD-ROM instead of paper. A few years later we transitioned to strictly online publication. We sprouted online journals, ISEDJ and later JISAR. I got to know a lot of the authors. I was as happy as a clam.
- During roughly the same ten years I served at ISECON I also served on the EDSIG board. 2001 I began service as a board member. 2005 I became vice president. 2007 I became president. 2009 I became past president. 2011 I retired from the board.
- 2001 - I also became chairman of the Computer Science department at BYUH. I also received tenure and a promotion to Associate Professor, based in large part on my activities with EDSIG.
- 2001 - our first grandchild was born.
- 2004 -I became chairman of the Information Systems department at BYUH.
- 2005 - I chaired ISECON, which was to be in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina intervened. We ended up in Columbus, Ohio, thanks to Stuart Varden, with a very successful conference. But New Orleans would have been grand.
- 2007 I was promoted to full Professor, again based in large part on my activities with EDSIG.
- 2008 - I became chairman of the Computing and Information Sciences department at BYUH. This new department was a combination of the former Computer Science and Information Systems departments and added a major in Information Technology.
2009 - I became Associate Dean of the College of Business, Computing, and Government at BYUH, where I still serve (2011).
Never would I have imagined so much good, so much fun, so many friends and colleagues, so much time in Hawaii, but most of all, so much satisfaction with things that happened that I totally did not expect. Life has been very good. Thank you!