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Marist and the Mainframe

As technology evolves, so does the partnership between IBM and Marist College

As technology evolves, so does the partnership between IBM and Marist College
Photography courtesy of Marist College

Nestled in Hudson River Valley, N.Y., sits the 150-acre Marist College campus. Not even five miles away, also overlooking the Hudson River, sits the IBM Poughkeepsie campus. Marist and IBM may appear to only have prime Hudson River real estate in common, with Marist being one of the leading colleges in the arts and sciences in the Northeast and IBM being one of the largest technology innovators in the world. A closer look at these neighbors reveals a deep partnership that dates back more than 20 years.

Joint-Study Program

What started as a friendly relationship between the executives at both institutions after Marist started using the mainframe grew into something bigger when Marist and IBM started the joint-study program in the 1980s.

The way the joint-study program works, explains Dr. Roger Norton, Marist College dean of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics, is IBM approaches Marist when it needs hardware or software prototypes created, or a showcase project on a new cutting-edge technology. Marist then taps someone from the college—be it someone in the school’s IT department, a faculty member and, of course, students—to perform the given task. Also on hand for these projects is Howard Baker, program manager for the IBM/Marist College joint studies. Technically an IBMer, Baker has worked on-site at Marist for about 10 years.

Funding for these joint-study projects comes from many sources, including shared university grants or faculty awards. But it’s not only Marist and IBM that benefit from this relationship. Marist College undergraduate and graduate students also gain priceless experience from working on these IBM projects.

Caroline L. Vitse is the former editor of TotalStorage Magazine. Caroline can be reached at cvitse@msptechmedia.com.


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