The first computer programming class at Winona State University, Fortran Programming was taught in 1968. Like many other univerisities at that time, the course was offered as a Physics course!

In 1971, Gary Bunce was hired in the Math department and asked to start working on developing more CS courses. By 1973, we had a brand new Computer Science Minor that offered students a coordinated set of courses in computer science and mathematics. And with that, the Computer Science program was launched!

Demand for programmers was increasing at a very fast pace in the 70's. With Control Data Corporation (known as CDC) in the cities and IBM in Rochester, Minnesota was right in the mix. Our program continued to grow and, in 1979, the Computer Science Major was approved by the state.

1980 was a big year in our history, when our first students graduated with a B.S. degree in Computer Science! The department continued to grow by leaps and bounds in the 80's, increasing the course offerings, the number of faculty and students, and even the campus locations. In 1983, we hired the first Computer Science Ph.D. in the entire Minnesota school system, Dr. Gerry Cichanowski. In 1985, we expanded our program to Rochester, partnering with Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) to offer a "2+2" CS degree program. Finally, in 1987, the Computer Science Department was officially formed.

The CS department has transformed itself many times over during the past 30+ years, as computer technology has continued to evolve. We've come a long way from that first Fortran programming course (on cards, no less). And we continue to be excited about what's coming next!!

Emerti Faculty