Change at NERDC

Published: April 2nd, 2002

Category: Memos

Chuck Frazier, Vice Provost for Information Technology

This message is to formally announce that Ron Schoenau steps down as Director of NERDC effective April 2, 2002. UF will not lose Ron’s store of knowledge and expertise as he has agreed to a new role. Beginning immediately, he will serve as Director of UF IT Services, splitting his time between Win Phillips, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, and me as Vice Provost for Information Technology.

Ron started his IT career in 1957 working for the Testing and Measurement Division of the Pinellas County School Board. After finishing a degree in mathematics at the University of Florida and a year of graduate work, he taught high school math for a short time before returning to UF to continue his graduate work. Later, Ron accepted a full time position and promotion in the Registrar’s Office and thus began his move up the UF IT ranks. He progressed from Programmer, to Computer Operations Manager, and then to Manager of Systems and Programming. In 1967, Ron designed, programmed and deployed the first on-line registration system in the southern US. In 1972, Vice President Harold Hanson recruited Ron to be Associate Director of the newly created NERDC. In 1974, Ron was named NERDC’s second Director.

When Ron started as NERDC Director 28 years ago, the data center’s IBM 360/165 operated at a speed of 1.89 million instructions per second. Cardpunches and readers were still in active use. And, NERDC was proud that its network could reach all the way to Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Orlando through 4800 bps HASP-to-HASP connections. NERDC computers now routinely execute billions of instructions per second. On-line interactive interfaces have come of age and networks now span the globe. On-campus data are transmitted at a speed of one billion bps. And under his leadership, NERDC has become renowned for its systems expertise and high performance networking.

The University of Florida owes a great debt to Ron Schoenau for a fine career of service and innovation. Those who know him well know also that he loves the university, possesses a deep commitment to his work and to his associates, and that he has never been afraid to speak his mind. These attributes have all contributed to his past success and will surely be continued in his new role.

A search will be announced soon for a new full-time Director of NERDC. In the meantime, Dr. Richard Elnicki has agreed to serve an expanded Associate Director role. Dr. Elnicki is professor of Decision Information Systems in the College of Business Administration. His teaching and research explores IT strategy and telecommunications. Dr. Elnicki has also worked with NERDC for 26 years, having served as chair of the I&R committee and most recently as Associate Director.

Comments are currently closed.