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The Governors Academy

Getting to the Web

Technology White Paper - 1995 [.pdf]

The Process of Change...

My days of fetching rocks for bureaucrats are over...
[Jerry Aldrich, Class of 1953]

December 15, 1995
Dodge D. Morgan
Promise, Inc.
Maine Publishing Corp.
40 Portland Pier #7
Portland, ME 04101

RE: New Technologies at GDA


I visited the GDA campus earlier this month and was intrigued by the many open ditches and the military-campaign-style telephone lines strung building-to-building from the trees overhead. Quite an upheaval, and I expected to see people in Phillips cranking magnetos to ring up the phones at Ingham. It looks like our discussion earlier this year about a new phone switch and infrastructure wiring for the Academy may now percolate to the top of the priority list, precipitated by the calamity of the existing system's collapse.

I heard earlier this week that at last week's meeting of the Trustees you were successful in persuading the Board to appoint a Technology Committee, and the Board has actually allocated considerable funds to address campus-wide communication and technology issues and to implement change.

Since we last spoke, I have brought together the Ad Hoc Technology Committee we discussed last spring; it consists of parents, alumni/ae, and friends of the Academy who collectively bring to the table considerable expertise in the technology arena.

I would like to offer our already-in-place Committee to you, the Trustees, Peter Bragdon, and Academy staff. All of us hope that GDA will enter the 21st Century on a solid technology foundation and able to implement the developing methodologies that will play such an important role in the educational process of the future. Let me know how we can most effectively focus our resources to help!

The Committee presently conisists of

Neil Quinn '58; Jonathan Karon; Ken Mahler '80; Robert Comey; Barry Hugo '92; Matthew Goldworm 'P2; Heather Blair '77; Marie-Teresa Vander Sande 'P2; Erika Sayewich '88; Jeffrey Fullerton '94; Tay Vaughan '62; Jason Male '91; Jerry Aldrich '53; Jamie Larsen 'T; Chuck Johnson '68

Again, let us know how we can help.

Best wishes and Merry Christmas!


From: Dodge Morgan [Trustee]
To: Peter Bragdon [Headmaster]
Date: 15 December, 1995

Believe you must now set up the internal project team to address the technology matter at the academy. Not only is our current telephone system archaic and inadequate, but our computer-related educational tools are barely adequate and we lack student access to the internet and the power it brings and will increasingly bring to the educational process. Given where the world of information is rapidly going, our new library will be as much a node for data access and training than it will be a temple lined with books. The Peddie tech notes were a real eye-opener; I hope you read them. We are woefully behind. We do not have lhe appropriate expertise or staff now, but do have a startingly-qualified and anxious-to-serve group of alurms organized and led by Tay Vaughan. I have a memo from Tay and he is well ahead of us. It would be good idea to have Lenane send the full Peddie "information network" package to Tay.

We have established an initial budget of $250,000. This is another slightly arbitrary number from me but should get us a phone system that works and a priced plan to attack the holistic campus technology issue.

You might consider your internal project team to be Savage, Lenane, Bergmann and Leary with Savage as project team head (might add Piatelli as head?). They should immediately make a direct connection with Tay's group. Give them a calendar to work from, say six months to describe the purposes and target plan, budget and schedule to put GDA into the tech age. I feel certain they will need to hire in a technoid and/or contract with a consultant very soon in the process.

We've got a long way to go here and better get that voyage underway. Let's talk.

From: Dodge Morgan
Date: 1 SEPT '95

Dear Tay:

The library and math-science center projects at GDA are progressing well towards an "in use" date of fall '97. Specs for the library building are firmed and a fine-looking conceptual design accepted. More work needed on the math science center, but this too will be ready for ground breaking next spring. Peter Bragdon is chasing the holy grail of funding with much positive result.

I am told you were sent some specs of some kind by, I think,. Brian Lenane, but don't know what the package contained.

The whole concept that the net is and will increasingly be the "computer" and the pc the interactive workstation is compelling. We would be very interested in your judgments on the alternatives for the computer connectivity part of the equation, the local network on campus, and on the alternatives for communications system installers. Perhaps you could work on the overview for infrastructure at this point. Do we go glass or copper or both on campus? Do we plan to wire dorm rooms? Any wireless options? How does the net change the operation of a library in your view? How close to the leading edge of technology do we dare commit? How fast do we plan to write off hardware? DO we need to tap into bigger than T-l external capacity?

I will find out what was sent to you and see you have the specifications of use... # students, stations, space, etc.

What I dearly hope we can accomplish is to seduce hardware and software producers to help us ($ in kind) get these outstanding GDA students (with corresponding academic programs) on the "information highway" in the fast lane.

Brian Lennne is the GDA technocrat and a very competent and knowledgeable one.

Any ideas would be most welcome frown you, particularly those near the top of the decision pyramid at this time. Guidance from your perspective!

Hope you've managed to keep your desk clean. Former wife Lael at U of Alaska is one more of your firm multimedia fans. It was great to see you reunion weekend. Name the next big earthquake after me, will you, and see if you can be holding a drink at some rooftop bar when it comes.



Date: Sat, 15 Jul 1995
From: (Jerry Aldrich )
Subject: Thanks for the Trip Down Memory Lane

While surfing the net for investment ideas this afternoon, on a whim, I brought up the InfoSeek search engine from Netscape's homepage and input "Governor Dummer". I got 2 hits: Jeff Fullerton's page on a Bucknell server which wouldn't reply, and your "Long Bio."

I enjoyed all of your bio, but particularly the links to the sub-pages (gda.html) and (gdaexp.html). They were indeed a brief trip down memory lane. I also explored the rest of your company's pages, and I concluded you are someone who likely enjoys your work as much as a day off. I feel sorry for those who do not, because they are truly wasting a very significant portion of their lives.

I was born in Milton, graduated from GDA in 1953, BSE from Princeton in 1957, and finished an ABD PhD at UCLA in 1963. At Princeton it was aeronautical engineering, and at UCLA it was optimal control theory. I spent an entire career in the aerospace industry, retiring as a SVP and GM of Loral Data Systems at age 55, in 1990. Since then I have co-founded and sold my interest in a couple of business and financial consulting corporations. Lately, I have returned to my technical roots by starting TelePro, Inc. TelePro provides technical and marketing services to the UNIX client/server enterprise marketplace - so far, primarily for mass data storage management hardware and software (e.g. unattended backup, online/nearline data archives, hierarchal storage management, etc.).

Since you are both a graduate of GDA and own a multimedia business, please take a look at (http://TigerNet.Princeton.EDU:1996/). It's the gateway page to query a database of e-mail addresses of Princeton alumni(ae). It was started on 5/21/95, and with absolutely no publicity, in less than 2 months, it already has more than 1,000 registrants. I wonder if there might be enough GDA Net-surfers out there to warrant starting a similar GDA database page? It ought to be relatively easy to get such an idea publicized in an issue of the Archon. GDA might even be interested in sponsoring it - linked from a home page of its own. It would provide GDA a catalyst for fund-raising both directly (e-mail appeals) and indirectly (raise the alumni(ae) loyalty consciousness).

-- snip -----


I think your advice to GDA concerning a path to an Internet presence is basically quite sound. I especially liked your idea of involving the students in planning, assimilating and creating material for the pages (ditto the CD-ROM). Since GDA has a Computer Lab, might it make sense to look further into the possibility of starting right out with their own server, instead of using a provider? I think Netscape makes their communications server software available to educational institutions at no cost. A GDA server would involve the students to a greater degree right out of the gate.


-- snip -----

Date: Sat, 11 Nov 1995 13:05:27 -0800
From: (Jerry Aldrich )
Subject: Wrong Rock, As Usual


I really empathize with you and Jason. I can just feel the FRUSTRATION in his e-mail message to you.

Not having been privy to it all, I'm guessing that the "powers that be" at the Academy must have decided to "check up" on their alumni. After all, why wouldn't it make sense (to bureaucratic, non-technical idiots) that alumni might be padding their private interests at the expense of the "greater good of the Academy." I gather Lenane, or somebody, sent the consultants (Microdata??) off half-cocked to check up on Jason's efforts. That check-up may have manifested itself in the form of Microdata asking its ISP (STAR.NET??) to cost being the ISP with a local dial-up, versus the Academy leasing a line to Boston for Jason's free service (that was always my fear). STAR.NET may then have gone off half-cocked and applied for a domain modification. BOOM, everthing blows up!

I don't know if the above scenario is correct, since I don't know who the players (Microdata and STAR.NET) are. But, I'll bet it's not too far from what actually happened. What now? I know you guy's have invested an immense amount of time and effort in the best interests of the Academy, and I know you both (me too) would hate to see all that time and effort go down the drain. There's only one thing I can promise you for sure: Not only was this rock the wrong size, shape, weight or color, but so will be every future rock you fetch.

As I told you when I declined to participate directly with the Academy, my days of fetching rocks for bureaucrats are over. I lost my health, my marriage, and very nearly my life playing "bring me a rock" with bureaucratic idiots. I've walked in yours and Jason's moccasins, and for me, the "What now?" decision would be an easy one. You guys are younger and haven't walked as many miles in those moccasins, however, so what you do is strictly your decision - and I will understand why it is very likely to be far different than mine would be. Whatever you do, I offer my indirect support (to you guys, not directly to the Academy) wherever it may make sense.

Tay, I'm really sorry we were unable to connect for Halloween evening in Oakland. You probably had your hands and evening full anyway with your wife and daughter. The failure of the SFO Marriott to deliver your Fax until the evening of November 1 is inexplicable. I even stopped at the desk and asked if a Fax had come in before leaving for Moscone on October 31. They said there was none. Somday, somewhere, we will get together for an evening of dinner and discussion. I'm sure of it.

Meanwhile, my very best to you and yours, and please stay in touch,


[Jerry Aldrich spent his left well-grounded in reality. He died Mar. 29, 1999, in his sleep, of heart failure. Several years before he had had a triple bypass... Jerry lost his oldest son in a tragic accident at the age of 10.]

"My ennui problem is associated with international travel. Before it was Loral Data Systems, Schlumberger owned it, and the majority of its business was international. Schlumberger put divisions in both Sarasota and Paris under me. Ergo, I commuted between Sarasota and Paris. Related business travel took me all over the world, and around the world several times in short periods (e.g. 12 or 13 days). I flat got sick of the center of gravity of my existence being somewhere at 35,000 feet over the Atlantic or Pacific. My wife must have enjoyed it, however, since she used the time I was gone to establish another relationship. Thus, when I retired and wasn't spending all my time overseas, her conflict of interest came rapidly to the fore. We solved it with an amicable divorce. She's an Equity stage actress who also travels a great deal with international and national touring companies; plus she does summer stock on Long Island every year. The marriage probably lasted 31 years only because we saw so little of each other..." [Gerard T. Aldrich, born November 5, 1935]

Date: 31 Aug 1995
From: "Brian P. Lenane" []
To: Tay Vaughan []
Subject: GDA Web Site Structure Up and Running!


I just had a chance to visit the GDA's Web site. It was fantastic ! I agree that it can become a living part of GDA. I really like the alumni connections.

You have done GDA a great service.

Please help with the details of downloading the "source" file. If you can give me specific instructions, I will download the source file, edit it and get it back to you.

I really pleased with the web site. The voice of Peter bragdon was not really understandable on my PC and it coused by Compuserve Mosaic Brower to crash. Are there specific software or hardware requiremetns to make his comments clearer ? All the connections I tried seems to work. I will keep on checking.

Thank you,

Brian Lenane

From: David Bergmann
To: Tay Vaughan
Date: Wed, Sep 13, 1995
RE: Thanks!

I just got your note about your donation of the 486DX/25. Wow! Thanks.That should provide both the hardware and the wherewithal for us to get up and running (finally!). If you can set a value on the hardware, I can have Karen McGinley (Director of Development) give you a receipt so you can get a tax deduction for an in-kind gift.

I am in the process, even as I write this, of sorting out the files for the home page text. I hope to have that winging its way to you this afternoon. (The opening of school and a few other concurrent happenings have left me rather swamped, I'm afraid.)

I'm glad you and Jason Male have made contact. I'm curious to learn more about the content of your discussions; I was concerned that Jason sounded somewhat negative the last time he and I spoke, and I didn't want that to adversely affect this project. I'm sure he could wind up being an important asset to our continuing technological development here.

Again, thanks for the hardware...and your impatience.

David Bergmann