Heriot-Watt was recently visited by a group of Computer Science alumni who had graduated from this university in 1975. 40 years later they came back to reunite and tour the campus of their alma mater as it is today.
Choosing to study Computer Science was an unusual step for the time. For those students who did, it meant a curiosity about a relatively unknown field. The terminology and the actual coding was indeed a ‘foreign’ language. In the words of alumnus Erik Pike:“…[this] degree needed confidence, not many people have this degree, take opportunities, [and be] optimistic.”
In 1975 the Heriot-Watt campus was located in downtown Edinburgh on Chambers Street and Grassmarket. The campus was at the centre of everything and going to University meant being in the heart of the city. For most of the alumni who came to the 40th year reunion, this was their first time at the University’s present rural location. It gave them a new perspective on the growth of Heriot- Watt since their student days.
Forty years ago they had each come for their own particular reason. It had been recommended to them personally; it was close to home; it offered courses unavailable elsewhere; but all came knowing the well-respected reputation of Heriot-Watt. Through all the changes and growth, the University’s highly regarded reputation has been maintained and even enhanced.
Heriot-Watt continues to be known as ‘one of the best’ as it provides students with a solid chance for good employment, career advancement and degrees which open doors to future prospects. To quote another alumnus, Ronnie Cartner “[It] paved the foundation for a future career, taught discipline, logical thinking to solve problems and communicate with companies and their people.”
For the forty year reunion group Heriot-Watt still conjures up memories of comradery, friendships, meeting fellow students from all over the world from all walks of life and all this in the context of living amidst the backdrop of a fully Scottish culture. Olaf Steff-Pederson says, “Mingle,[get] to know other students, get to know Edinburgh, get into the city. [It’s]a fantastic city.”
Margaret Gordon, “Go for it and enjoy it, keep focused.”
Robert Brown, “Give it your best.”
Ronnie Cartner, “Go to University, enjoy, work hard, best time of your life. An opportunity not to be missed.”
Joe Zawinski, “Got to do something you enjoy be happy with it. If you’re not happy, do something else.”
Jim Galloway, “Work hard, play hard [but] don’t get stressed, avoid stress.”
University is a part of your life that helps shape your future. It may be after you graduate and you go on to do something else in life that you come to realize it. But Heriot-Watt will remain a part of you.
Article written by Darien Ross, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences.