Physics professor Peter Kloeppel demonstrates how to load a magnetic tape onto the mainframe computer at Monmouth College in 1975.

The Evolution of Computers at Monmouth College

Physics professor Peter Kloeppel demonstrates how to load a magnetic tape onto the mainframe computer at Monmouth College in 1975.
Jeff Rankin

The modern computer age at Monmouth College began in 1975 when President DeBow Freed appointed math professor John Arrison as director of the computer center; and a series of former classrooms in Wallace Hall were transformed into a center for academic computing and business computing.

Punched cards were the medium for data entry until physics professor Peter Kloeppel (who assisted Arrison at the center) convinced the administration to purchase CRT terminals — much to the dismay of a faculty who were convinced the data should be stored on paper or it could be lost.

Kloeppel, who wrote most of the programming for the center in BASIC language, remembers starting up the system every morning in a long and complicated sequence. The maintenance agreement also required the system to be turned off if the room temperature rose above 75 degrees, which was often the case despite two air conditioners with large windows.

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