Published: April 22, 2020

Alan Kay
Top: Students in the 1990s. Above: CU Boulder alumnus Alan Kay speaks on campus in an undated photo. Kay is known as a pioneer of object-oriented programming, personal computing and graphical user interfaces.

50 Years of Computer Science

In 1970, the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to establish CU Boulder’s first Department of Computing Science. A few months later, the name was updated to the Department of Computer Science, and Lloyd Fosdick was appointed as the founding chair. 

Since that time, the department has grown into a dynamic group of researchers, students and alumni dedicated to diversity in computing, entrepreneurship and innovations that tackle important societal challenges. From its start as a small unit in a barely recognized field, the department has grown to more than 70 faculty, 2,000 undergraduates and 400 graduate students in what many consider the world’s most pivotal discipline. 

Throughout 2020, the department will celebrate by sharing faculty and alumni memories. The anniversary year will culminate on Saturday, Oct. 10, with a daylong flagship event to welcome back alumni and past faculty, salute their founders, and celebrate the continued impact of CU Boulder computer science.

Department of Computer Science Today