Mathematics and Computer turns 50!

Memories of MC

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mathematics and Computer building (MC), we asked our faculty and alumni to share some of their favourite memories in MC! Here's what they want to share:

“I graduated 50 years ago, 1968, with my final exams in April. I can recall running some computer programs in the MC building during my final term. The building was a construction work in progress. Its solid form stated that Math would be a University priority.”

 - Rosemary Taylor, BMath '68 

"My favourite story is how we obtained Canada’s largest computer, the IBM 360 model 75. Wes Graham and I were discussing how we would fill the computer room (the Red Room) in the centre of the MC building. At that time, Ontario provided 90% of the cost of a new approved building project including furniture. We decided that computers were furniture and just included the computer with the building. This was a $5,000,000 building with $8,000,000 of furniture. The rest is history."

 - Don Cowan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Director of the Computer Systems Group

"Jose and I arrived at Waterloo as a newly married couple full of dreams in August of 1981. It was a hot summer and we enjoyed walking to campus. Jose wanted to know where the computer center building was before the beginning of the semester. He wanted to be ready as he was eager to get started learning.

In the following months, he heard about the challenge of taking the comprehensive exam. Jose liked challenges so he started to study, alongside his already heavy course load, the 12 or more books he needed to know to be ready for the comprehensive exam. At the end of his masters, he took the exam and passed it. It was time to make a difficult decision. He had promised me that we would go back to Mexico after he got his Masters, but he really wanted to continue the work that he loved. Ultimately we made the sacrifice and Jose went on to get his PhD at Waterloo.

While we were at Waterloo, we had a program for foreign students to have host families. These families would reach out to us and make us to feel a part of their family. We would celebrate all the holidays with them. Jose and I were lucky to have two host families from New Hamburg. They celebrated with us Jose's graduation and gave us a painting of the Land on which the University was built painted by Mrs. Hegang’s Father. We continue to be in touch with them. We went to Waterloo on August 2016 to Celebrate Mr. Roth's 90th birthday. We visited the campus and we were happy to see all the changes and enjoy all the memories of our life as a newly married couple. Jose and I celebrated our 36th anniversary last August."

 - Lucinda Blakeley, spouse of the late Jose Blakeley (PhD, CS '87) 

"3 things pop out of my head:

  • Playing bridge at the math lounge - sometimes for 24 hours straight!
  • Playing midnight soccer with a tennis ball on the 3rd floor.
  • MathSoc organized a catch-an-eff competition that Norm Diamond and I won!"

 - Danny Ying, BMath '80

"Happy Birthday, MC! Here are some personal memories (prefrosh and undergrad, 1979-1987) of all your wonderful brutal concrete, classrooms, computers, students, and faculty:

  • MC3038, MC 3037, MathSoc and later the Computer Science Club were the nexus of my experience. These gregarious, outrageous, and extremely cool and glamourous undergrads and grad students welcomed me at 15. I owe my life to their kindness. We drank a lot of tea, played a lot of bridge and euchre, did a lot of Friendly Consulting Service, and learned and taught a lot of extracurricular computer science in the CSC office.
  • Rooms of Volker Craig VC303 terminals, new undergrads coding in WATBOL and WATFIV-S and WATIAC/WATMAP, submitting jobs to WIDJET. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
  • MC2060: The IBM 3270 terminal room. Kids working on VM/CMS. That pure green on black experience. Keyboards that mechanically lock up and physically prevent you from depressing keys when the system is not ready for input.
  • MC2065/2066: Early morning calculus with a hundred new friends. A grad student instructor for Abstract Algebra who falsely introduced himself as Herman DL Knight, and only several classes later when he revealed DL was “Died Last” did we catch on.
  • The third floor, home of MathSoc, the CSC, and the (Rebel Alliance) Math Faculty Computing Facility, keepers of GCOS and Unix."

 - Jan Gray, BMath '87 via Twitter