Biography and History

The Office of Information Technology oversees Princeton University’s academic and administrative systems and the information technology infrastructure that supports them. It also provides information technology products and services for students, staff, faculty, and alumni of the University.

In 1952 the University’s first computer was acquired and installed as part of a military weapons analysis group. Four years later the department of Electrical Engineering offered a course on digital computer programming for the first time. In 1961 the University’s first Computer Center was created in Beggs Hall of the Engineering Quadrangle as a resource for students and faculty seeking to make use of the young technology of the computer. The initial director was electrical engineering professor Edward McCluskey, who held the position until 1966, when Roald Buhler assumed the directorship.

By the time construction began in 1966 for a new Computer Center located at 87 Prospect Avenue, its functions were considered to be a University-wide scholarly resource that members of the University community could use without charge. Mirroring the upgrade in the facilities was an upgrade in computing equipment, as the original IBM 7090 models in the computer center were replaced with the more advanced IBM 360/91 and later the IBM 370/158, capable of far more complex tasks. As computers became an increasingly common sight on campus and were integrated into student life and academics, the Computer Center continued to expand in size and importance. In 1971 Administrative Systems and Data Processing merged with the Computer Center operation and in 1974 the Interactive Computing Graphics Laboratory was established, which held a number of time-sharing terminals and supporting equipment.

In 1984 faculty and student committees on computing recommended decentralizing computing and the University received a Pegasus grant from IBM which allowed for more workstations and the refining of the technical infrastructure. The position of the Vice President for Computing and Information Technology was created in 1985 to coordinate University-wide computing matters, and the office was comprised of four major areas: Information Services, Financial and Contractual Services, Systems and Operations, and Administrative Services and Information Systems. The hiring of Ira Fuchs in this new position led to numerous improvements, including the expansion of the computing staff, the orchestration of Tigernet as a campus telecommunications infrastructure, and the renaming of the Computer Center as the Computing Center, which reflected the movement from centralized to distributed computing. The Office of Information Technology was created in 2001, and the new organization expanded the administrative support system and goals of advanced scientific research of the previous technical infrastructure into all aspects of teaching, research, scholarship, and administration for the University.

Currently, the Office of Information Technology consists of six departments: Academic Services, Administrative Information Systems, Enterprise Infrastructure Services, Support Services, Administration and Finance, and Project and Consulting Services. These departments enable the effective use of information technology in support of Princeton University through various goals, including supporting the use and development of information technology to enable academic innovation, providing leadership in planning for the effective use of technology, providing a reliable technology infrastructure, maintaining reliable employees, and enabling communication and collaboration among information technology professionals and users of information technology.

Jon Edwards served as the Assistant Vice President of Computing and Information Technology in 1986 and by 2010 was Coordinator of the Office of Information Technology Institutional Communications and Outreach.

Source: From the finding aid for AC366

  • Office of Information Technology Records. 1956-2009 (inclusive), 1980-2008 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC366

    The Office of Information Technology oversees Princeton University’s academic and administrative systems and the information technology infrastructure that supports them. It also provides information technology products and services for students, staff, faculty, and alumni of the University. The Office of Information Technology Records consists of paper records and electronic media related to the administration and implementation of information technology at Princeton University.

  • Office of Information Technology Records. 1956-2009 (inclusive), 1980-2008 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC366

    The Office of Information Technology oversees Princeton University’s academic and administrative systems and the information technology infrastructure that supports them. It also provides information technology products and services for students, staff, faculty, and alumni of the University. The Office of Information Technology Records consists of paper records and electronic media related to the administration and implementation of information technology at Princeton University.