Among the many dedicated UO employees to be honored at the UO recognition/retirement reception on Thursday, June 13 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Information Services Site License Manager Mary Hite is most notable for her longevity. She is wrapping up an impressive 39-year run as the Computing Center’s go-to person for help. AroundtheO caught up with Hite to find out what she’s experienced over the past 39 years, as the UO has adapted to modern technology.
What's the most remarkable change you've experienced at UO since you've been here?
MH: The most remarkable change centers around the day-to-day operations of the campus. The advent of the Internet and personal computer completely changed how people communicate. I remember when we first started using email. I thought it was silly to send a message to someone who worked a few offices away from me since I could easily get up and have a personal conversation ... or I could just call them on the phone. However, email now is a way to track shared information. I still like to walk to someone's office to talk about issues, but then I may email myself a note about the conversation just so I have a record.
What has it been like to keep up with the rapid technology changes over 39 years?
MH: The changes in technology kept this job really interesting. I have been fortunate to work with some very intelligent people who worked really hard to keep the UO adopting the best technologies as the choices became apparent. There were many forks in the technology road and, for the most part, the correct choices were made. Working at the Computing Center is a lot like a family and everyone was great about helping me make decisions to support the student computing labs. It has been a wonderful team experience.
What do you foresee for UO’s technology future?
MH: I believe that technology will revolve more around wireless devices. Given the rapid expansion of mobile computing, the challenge will be helping the university community seamlessly utilize this aspect of the network and how it changes the way we are using computers.
Now that you are retiring, what will you do with your free time?
MH: I am already enjoying having time to work around the house and take our dog for a walk. But I would also like to either help with a school reading program or be an advocate for an elderly lady who needs help managing appointments and getting around town.
What will you miss most about the UO?
MH: The people, especially the staff at the Computing Center and the faculty and staff who used and supported the computing labs. However, it was great to be able to hire and work with a lot of students … not just students from the U.S., but also students from all over the world. I already miss working with the students, but I still stay in touch with many of them with the help of the Internet.
- by Aria Seligmann, UO Office of Strategic Communications