Admiral Grace Murray Hopper [1906-1992]
Hopper was born in New York, the oldest in a family of three children. She was curious as a child, a lifelong trait. At seven she decided to determine how an alarm clock worked. She dismantled seven alarm clocks before her mother realized what she was doing; she was then limited to one clock.
She attended the Hartridge School in Plainfield, NJ. and was admitted to Vassar College at age 17. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1928 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics. She earned her Master’s degree at Yale University in 1930. Hopper began teaching mathematics at Vassar.
Career Grace had successful careers in academia, business, and the US Navy while making history in the computer field. In 1943, Hopper was sworn in to the United States Navy Reserve, one of many women to volunteer to serve in the WAVES. Grace became the mother of computerized data automation in the Naval Service. She retired (involuntarily) from the Navy (for the third time) on August 14, 1986. At a celebration held on the USS Constitution, Hopper was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat award by the Department of Defense. At her retirement as a Rear Admiral, she was the oldest commissioned officer in the United States Navy (79 years, eight months and five days). Grace was then hired as a senior consultant to Digital Equipment Corporation, a position she retained until her death in 1992, aged 85.
SWE Admiral Hopper received SWE’s Achievement Award in 1994. She was the first individual woman awarded the National Medal of Technology (1991) by President George HW Bush. “For her pioneering accomplishments in the development of computer programming languages that simplified computer technology and opened the door to a significantly larger universe of users
While she was working on a Mark II Computer at Harvard University, her associates discovered a moth stuck in a relay and thereby impeding operation, whereupon she remarked that they were “debugging” the system. Though the term computer bug cannot be definitively attributed to Admiral Hopper, she did bring the term into popularity. The remains of the moth are in the group’s log book at the Smithsonian Institution. She felt her greatest accomplishment was teaching young people.
The scholarship was established in 1992 to honor a woman known as “Amazing Grace” through friends and SWE members raising the funds.Number Available: 3
Major: CprE, CS
Preference is given to students in computer related engineering majors. 3 @ $1,500