A Port for Every Pillow

Posted by - - 1990s, Visionaries

In the spring 1995 issue of Whitworth Today, editor Pat Sturko wrote, “This spring Ken Pecka, ’80, associate director of academic computing, has been walking The Loop with a measuring wheel in one hand, a pad and pencil in the other. His manner is so quiet and unobtrusive you’d never suspect he’s laying plans to launch the entire Whitworth campus into cyberspace.”

That summer, trenches were dug and fiber-optic cable was installed across campus; by fall, every office, classroom and residence-hall room contained an Internet port. This was an important advancement in closing the gab between old and new ways of sharing knowledge, as well as a spur to “maintaining the flow of our very bright and motivated students,” President Bill Robinson said. “I think we’ll all be amazed at what our students do with these new learning tools.”

Wiring the residence halls and funding user-support personnel and a network manager cost Whitworth approximately $300,000. An annual $200 fee was added to students’ room-and-board charges to pay for and support the new services. Many Whitworth students were already familiar with using the Internet, and they were excited to be able to access it on their personal computers. “I won’t have to wait for a free computer in the library,” said sophomore Derek Smith, ’97. “I can get on the Internet at any time during the day or night.”