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
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,
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,
Bob Nadeau, Chairman of the Board of
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
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:
"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
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:
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."
- 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?
"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,
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!'"
"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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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
"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!