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    April 16, 2007 Boston Globe article about Ken's Archives at Gordon College
   

Event Gallery:  June 17, 2006 "Salute to Ken Olsen" at Gordon College

 

Here are our new memories of the Digital event of the century!

A thousand former DEC employees participated in "The Salute to Ken Olsen": Ceremony, Reception and Groundbreaking for the Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College, Wenham MA on Saturday, June 17, 2006 -- it was a tremendous success!

Ken Olsen was honored by Gordon College, which has named their future Science Center for him. Ken has been a Gordon College Trustee since 1961—this is the first building that Ken has allowed to bear his name. This facility will house the Digital Equipment Corporation Loggia of Technology, featuring Ken’s documents and memorabilia. A special recognition ceremony and Digital Reunion was held in conjunction with the groundbreaking.  Speakers included Digital Senior VP Win Hindle, former Digital Director and MITRE President Robert Everett, Board President and members from Gordon College, and Bob Nadeau, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, from the Town of Maynard. (Marje Morrissey, Chapter 1776 Secretary, was responsible for writing the Maynard proclamation declaring June 17, 2006 as "Ken Olsen Day".)  There also were congratulatory letters from Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. 

Many former Digital VPs donned hardhats and wielded shovels for the Groundbreaking to honor Ken.  As they come in, photos of the day will be added to the DECedOut gallery below.

You can still make a contribution in Ken's honor to the Loggia of Technology, and read more about the Ken Olsen Tribute on the Gordon College website.  A video DVD Tribute to Ken is available for purchase.

Here is a link to the Gallery of Photographer and ex-Digit Sylvia Stagg-Juliano - featuring this event.
Photos taken by ex-DECCie Mary Cole have been added to our website Photo Gallery:
"Impressions" of the day from Digital attendees:
 

Debra Svenson

"Impressions…do you remember?

All those faces, slightly different, but, yet, still the same when the recognition smiles came shining through. Digital was the company we all worked for long ago.  It made us all into DECIES, a part of a special family, a label proudly positioned in our hearts and earned with laughter, sweat, and tears.  Ken Olsen made it all possible, tried, honored, and true, so we all met last week to show our appreciation for the father and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation...the head of our DEC family.
 
The company that honed our ethics, shaped our management styles and helped make us resilient honored the man that made it all possible last Saturday at Gordon College.  Ken had a real eye for quality. He must have been very proud; every aspect of this event rang with quality control echoes. It was a “class act” from beginning to end:

  • Gordon’s facility & students and the “decedout” members that worked as guides, web masters, attendance procurers and planners. They greeted, handled out badges, gave directions, drove trolley buses, cut cake or performed booth duties with a smile and good cheer. They made me remember all those DecWorlds…all that work, all those customers, all that hair pulling, eye rolling, exhaustion and the joy of really partnering with others and getting things done…do you remember?
  • The Recognition Program in the A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel that recognized Ken as an innovator, an engineer, a walk-around-type of manager who spent little time in his office. There were a few tears in the eyes of the audience, mine included, when we viewed the video and listened to Roseanne, Peter and Win talk of integrity, the open door policy, and the “good-idea-great-and-now-you-get-the-chance-to-do-it” opportunity that made people thrive at DEC. I found myself counting on all my fingers the different bosses and jobs I had at DEC and all the experience and new things I got to learn…do you remember?
  • Reception on the lawn – great lobster sandwiches, great very green lawn, great atmosphere and band, great people (especially the “always friends” that have stayed in touch over the years), great day, great big, big, and I mean really big Maynard Clock Tower cake and ground breaking ceremony for the Gordon College Ken Olsen Science Center. It made me remember how we used to celebrate at DEC, if we made the unit ship number in manufacturing, if we implemented a new program or process to improve utilization or productivity, if we got through “boot camp” without attacking the instructor. Celebration…do you remember?
Mostly this day gave us all the opportunity to thank, honor and recognize a great man, Ken Olsen, who will always be remembered, whether it be for his contribution to the Computer Industry, as founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, as an active member of the Board of Directors for Gordon College, or for the many other contributions he has made. In the future Ken will be remembered by all the Gordon College Science Major Students that will use and learn in the Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College. How appropriate…he is still teaching and others are still learning."

John Loether

"This event both honored Ken Olsen and the creation of Digital, but it was a trip of re-affirmation that what Ken created in his company, became the standards and beliefs of behavior. Honesty, Integrity, 'do the right thing', be it with fellow workers, employees, customers, vendors.

The sense of a 'Digital Family' was shown and 'relived' in part by the film and comments of those talking about the company. Others who had known Ken, 'back in the day', spoke of that same temperament and value based ethic. His Christian beliefs and faith were deep roots that built the foundations of what Digital would come to stand for. Excellence in quality and products were the goal. Growth and profit would come 'after' the establishment of value.

The ability to see and chat with Ken - one more time was a great opportunity. The same twinkle in his eye, the attentiveness and firm voice - brought back floodtides of memories. We were 'unique' we stand tall and proud of what became a rare company and strong values that are not seen as 'normal' or 'standard' in so many places.

Ken was never 'center stage', but off to the right watching people grow, encouraging as well as arguing. It was getting people to look at the WHOLE of the problem. He who proposes - owns! What motivation and atmosphere to grow and do! Ken has also 'been there' time and time again in giving, time energy and desire to so many projects. Gordon college is one great beneficiary of this kind of activity. Ken Olsen day 'put the icing on the cake', with the KO Science wing to be built.

A day for honoring, reflecting, valuing, and being proud of great things done years ago, and the forward thinking and innovation still stand today as 'thought leadership'. This was Ken, this was a company of values, this Digital Equipment Corporation. And one is still proud to say "I was a DECie!'"

  Zoran Ilic "The organization of the event was par excellence!  The staff of Gordon College was polite, knowledgeable and very helpful! The tents were obviously positioned with a forethought on the public flow at the event and well staffed (and stuffed with food). They would have sold many more Digital Equipment Corporation books by Alan Earls if they were made available for purchase at the tents ... I wish the event was more broadly advertised -- at least in Massachusetts.

Overall, I was glad to have taken the time to attend, and hope that there will be a Science Center Complete (or its simili) event planned for the future. We could walk through it and directly talk to students using it.  Thanks, again"
  Bob & Doris Moore "Our day at Gordon College for the dedication of the Ken Olsen Science Center began at 11:00am when we meandered up the tree lined road to Wilson House [president’s residence] for a lovely catered luncheon. Although most attendees were old DEC employees there were representatives from other parts of Ken’s life. We shared our table with a couple who had been on the Board at Gordon College with Ken for many years and who also attended church with Ken. Also at the table was Peter De Lisi. The combination made interesting table conversation.

The presentation in the chapel was outstanding. We arrived approximately 30 minutes before it started and enjoyed people watching as friends caught up with old friends. What a wonderful site to see and be part of. One of the highlights of the day was seeing Ken walk into the chapel. The speakers were excellent, each talking about a different aspect of Ken’s life but the best was Win Hindle – especially his last comment on the video – I love you Ken.

Gordon College put on a spectacular event – from the staff who assisted with the parking and giving tours and directions, to the catering staff who out did themselves with the delicious food, to the tents and organization of the entire day. Time did not permit us to stay for the groundbreaking. We had a few surprises as we met folks we knew who did not have a connection to Digital but who like, so many, benefited greatly from what Ken Olsen epitomized."

  Sandy (Zimany) Day "The tribute to Ken last Saturday was outstanding. The ceremony was relatively succinct, pertinent and well done. Not many dry eyes with the standing ovation Ken so appropriately received! The only thing that was very un-Ken, and un-DEC like was the segregation of the VPs to the front and "Staff officials" "protecting" them from us commoners. However, the status thing is totally college-like. Not a bad trade-off for Gordon hosting a wonderful event - they are to be congratulated and thanked.

It was wonderful to see so many folks - all united in the appreciation of Ken and most of our experiences at DEC. Of all those experiences at Digital, the bonds we forged with so many talented people are truly the most valued. Seeing some of these folks and having the promise of connecting with more of them through the directory of the www,decedout.org website was wonderful.

You, and all the folks involved in the planning and execution of this experience, are to be congratulated and thanked."

  Rod Sutherland "An exceptional day among exceptional people... just like the days at DEC!

How nice to see so many yet there were so many that I would like to have seen. It was amazing to see conversations just "pick up" where they left off in the late nineties!

So many of the people there were sowed the seeds of what is just lately coming into world view as "the next big thing". We were always ahead of our time and shaping the future and I discovered that the DEC folks are still at it wherever they are."

  Gary Finerty "a very emotional day, seeing Ken was a highlight and certainly returned the feeling of being in Digital and enjoying working there. The event was very professional and well run. The talks were good, especially Dr Arman from Harvard.  The cake event was a nice touch. Good to see the DEC Band again and sorry it was so far off.  Having a chance to see so many old Digital friends was a great benefit ...having a chance to personally say a word with Ken was a golden moment. Having worked at Digital for so many years it was nice to experience the euphoria of being a Digital person again...hopefully we can have a twice yearly event to bring us all together again.

regards Gary Finerty, Digital Class of '75"

  Ava Schutzman "I was delighted to attend the June 17th Tribute at Gordon College as one of Ken's employees to show him know how much he was appreciated all those years at Digital for the professional opportunities and wonderful corporate culture he gave to all of us, as well as for his contributions to the world of technology. It was a beautiful day, and Gordon College sponsored a wonderful event. Having the DEC Big Band (I'll not think of them as Compaq or HP) was a fabulous touch.

I was lucky to have worked in organizations of both Digital-related executive speakers -- I spent 4 years at MITRE when Bob Everett was President before coming to Digital for 21 years, so it was personally interesting to see him speak as well. But Win Hindle really brought down the house, not just with his personal speech, but at the end of the video, when he said in closing, "and, I love you, Ken!" he spoke for thousands of us. I hope Ken was able to appreciate being appreciated, given his modest personal demeanor, because he has so earned our love, appreciation and respect over the years and I'm not sure he realizes the impact he has had on so many of us."

   

The Future Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College!

 

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