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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

May 24, 2011

Public invited to tour Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum, contribute to scholarship

Jean Jennings Bartik (Photo by Darren Whitley/Northwest Missouri State University)

Jean Jennings Bartik (Photo by Darren Whitley/Northwest Missouri State University)

MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State University is hosting guided tours of the Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum beginning at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 5, on the second floor of the University's B.D. Owens Library. The tours are free and open to the public, and parking will be available in the lot just north of the library.

Betty Jean Jennings Bartik, who died March 23 at the age of 86 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was a 1941 graduate of Stanberry High School and a 1945 graduate of Northwest. She was one of six female computers chosen in 1945 to program the world's first electronic computer - the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC. She also helped program the BINAC and the UNIVAC, the world's first commercial computer, and was a pioneer in a technology that came to be known as software.

In 1997, Bartik and her fellow programmers were inducted into the Women In Technology International Hall of Fame, and in 2002 Bartik was given an honorary doctorate from Northwest. In the fall of 2007, she returned to Northwest as the Homecoming Grand Marshal. The following year, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., presented Bartik with its Fellow Award, enshrining her in the CHM Hall of Fellows.

Bartik, who visited Northwest frequently, also visited Northwest in 2002 as the University dedicated its Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum. The museum, which has a unique collection of early computing memorabilia, has on display an authentic ENIAC decade ring counter on loan from the Smithsonian Institute and an original Remington-Rand miniature model of the UNIVAC I. Additionally, there is an extensive collection of Northwest computing hardware including an Altair 8800 computer, considered the first personal computer, and an Osborne portable computer, an ancestor to the modern laptop computer.

Dr. Jon Rickman, vice president of information systems at Northwest and director of the Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum, said Bartik has left an important legacy in the programming industry as well as at Northwest Missouri State.

"Today there are more than 1.4 million programmers and software developers in the United States, and Jean Jennings Bartik was the first," Rickman said. "I've enjoyed working on the creation of the Jean Jennings Bartik Museum at Northwest, and I'm certain the public will enjoy what we have in store for the upcoming tours."

In addition to guided tours, interaction with Bartik's family members and video footage featuring Bartik, individuals attending the June 5 event will have the opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation to a scholarship being created in Bartik's memory. The scholarship will be given to female students at Northwest studying computer science, math or science. Donations may be made to the Northwest Foundation, 800 University Drive, Maryville, MO 64468. People submitting contributions via check should reference the name of the scholarship. Donations may also be made by calling 660.562.1248 or visiting and clicking "Existing Named Scholarships" and "Computer Science/Information Systems."

The public tours of the museum immediately follow a 2:30 p.m. memorial service for Bartik, also located in the B.D. Owens Library and open to the public.

For more information on the Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum, call 660.562.1634.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468