Richard Paine

Years at the college:   1961 - 1991

B.S. Walla Walla College 1952
M.S. University of Washington 1957
Ph.D. University of Washington 1958


Richard Paine successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in algebraic topology at the University of Washington in 1958. He accepted a position in the mathematics department at Colorado College in 1961 when Professor Leech was chair. Paine taught the standard courses and in the mid 1960's agreed to teach a summer institute for teachers eager to learn "new math."

When the college subscribed to General Electrics time-sharing service in 1967, Paine was exposed to computing for the first time. Shortly after, in 1969, the department had the opportunity to send someone to an NSF sponsored summer institute in computing held in Tallahassee, Florida. Paine agreed to participate and then attended a full year of various computing courses at the University of Washington. When he returned to Colorado College, there was a new Hewlett Packard computer and Dick soon became the resident expert. He taught both an introductory programming course and a more advanced course covering assembly language plus an introduction to ALGOL and SNOBOL. This course often met at midnight when it was safe to turn off the various administrative programs. The college gradually came to rely more and more on Paine's computing expertise and by the early 1980's, Paine was teaching only a few courses in the mathematics department and serving most of his time as a systems engineer in the computer center. He held a full time position in the computer center from 1986 until he retired in 1991.

In addition to computer languages, Paine developed a life-long love of human languages. While attending high school in the Panama Canal Zone, he studied Spanish and Latin, and while spending two years in Japan after World War II, he studied German. During graduate study in Washington, he found the Russian language particularly intriguing. In 1960 he made the first of many trips to Russia, and in 1966 he attended the Congress of Mathematics at the Moscow State University. In 1991, Paine began visiting Russia regularly although without academic support. He relies on friends, gives a few lectures in English, helps students with their English, and brings in medical supplies for hospitals and orphanages.



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