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Students sometimes wonder if there is and what it is like. Therefore they are interested in what becomes of our graduates, seeking some assurance from those who have gone before them, are familiar with the territory, and know the trail. On the other hand our graduates are anxious to communicate with our undergraduates. This is a perfect arrangement, docile students and eager teachers. For these reasons, then, I plan to publish brief essays in this space concerning our graduates. In this way we will celebrate a Graduate of the Week during each of the 32 weeks of the school year. These single page vignettes would briefly describe their life and work experiences, their exploits, their challenges met and difficulties overcome. Maybe the reader will recognize some of these former students who have moved on and have succeeded in living happy and fulfilled lives.
Before the advent of the couch potato and long before Fairfield University resident student became mesmerized by cable TV, our Fairfield mathematics department was renowned for its classy social program. Monthly socials, semester dances (sometimes semi-formal) and semester picnics at Sherwood Island would attract fifty to eighty students and faculty. One of the chairman for these events was a brilliant mathematician named Al DeNigris.
After Graduation he attended SUNY at Albany, received an Masters in Computer Science, having received a teaching assistantship. While there he gained experience on the Sperry Univac computers on campus and then received a software systems programming job offer from Sperry Univac (now called Unisys), based in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. He has been there ever since, enjoying the Midwest culture and lifestyle.
He married his wife Glenda, a Michigan State alumna and a software project manager. Together they take cycling vacations across states of the Midwest, and both run in local 5K and 10K races. Al's current position is that of Staff Software Engineer for Unisys Corporation. Al and his team are currently developing an intranet web site designed specifically for Unisys customers to help them optimize their Unisys NT Enterprise Server computers and NT server software products. Glenda and Al both take classes at the local technical college to learn some new computer technologies and keep themselves marketable.
With the advent of personal computers, software development is changing rapidly. Al finds that the information system marketplace is fiercely competitive, and many companies are having trouble keeping pace with new technologies. This is being felt within Unisys, as the company is consistently downsizing every year, and changing corporate strategies to be competitive in the marketplace.
Al reflects on his Fairfield days and offers some sage advice.The educational experiences I received at Fairfield are secondary to the life experiences I shared with the Fairfield students and faculty. The friendships acquired as well as my first taste of independence helped me gain an understanding of the real world outside of school. The mathematics background I received at Fairfield is not directly applicable to my current job, but the analytical thought processes and problem solving capabilities learned in my mathematics courses are by far the most important educational qualities a person needs in my field. Close behind are other personal qualities such as common sense, the ability to communicate, initiative, and an affinity for teamwork.
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