I want to take the opportunity of this Veteran’s Day to highlight a woman of great significance featured at each year’s SGS luncheon, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. At our annual luncheon we honor women in our community who have achieved great things in their chosen field with the Grace Hopper Awards. It is our hope that the SGS 7th graders in attendance, and hosting the event, will be inspired by the example of the winners as well as by the story of Admiral Hopper. Who was Grace Hopper?
She was an accomplished mathematician who achieved the rank of associate professor at Vassar in 1941. Coming from a family with military traditions, she resigned her Vassar post to join the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) in1943. She was commissioned a lieutenant and reported to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University, where she was the third person to join the research team of professor Howard H. Aiken. Hopper outlined the fundamental operating principles of computing machines. After the war, she was appointed to the Harvard faculty as a research fellow, and in 1949 she joined the newly formed Eckert-Mauchly Corporation.
In 1983, she was promoted to commodore in a ceremony at the White House and two years later, she became Admiral Hopper. She was one of the first strategic “futurists” in the world of computing. Perhaps her best-known contribution to computing was the invention of the compiler, the intermediate program that translates English language instructions into the language of the target computer.
She was very proud of her service to her country, and she was buried with full Naval honors at Arlington National Cemetery on January 7, 1992.
Today, we honor Grace Hopper as a veteran of our nation; and on May 9th, 2013, we will honor two more Grace Hopper Award winners for the whole of their achievements. For more information on the SGS Luncheon and the Grace Hopper Awards, go to: