CSC News

May 08, 2007

Department Icon to Retire After 38 Years

Photo of Alan TharpDr. Alan L. Tharp, Alumni Distinguished Professor and previous Department Head, has announced his intentions to begin phased-retirement effective July 1, 2007.

When he joined the NC State Department of Computer in 1969, the newly created department was just two years old.  Because the field was so new, it was difficult to find Ph.D.s in computer science.  Tharp, who earned his Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University, became one of the very first faculty in the department with a degree in the field.

Tharp, whose research interests have spanned data and file structures for new technologies and computer-user interfaces, has always been a favorite among students.  As a tribute to his outstanding teaching skills, he received the NC State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Undergraduate Professorship Award in 1985.

As his career progressed, Tharp took on ever-increasing levels of leadership within the department.  After serving as interim department head for a year, he became just the 4th official department head in 1993.  Serving in this capacity until 2004, Tharp led the department of computer science during a period of incredible growth and transition.

During his tenure as department head, 29 tenure-track faculty were recruited (17 of them received the NSF CAREER development award); the department established an active Strategic Advisory Board, launched the award-winning Senior Design Center to manage corporate-sponsored student projects, and established the highly successful ePartners corporate recognition program.  Both the undergraduate and graduate programs grew significantly during the period, and much of the groundwork was completed to move the department into a new facility on Centennial Campus.

After stepping down as department head in 2004, Tharp returned to the classroom developing and delivering a popular course in technology innovation.

In addition to Tharp’s illustrious work at NC State, Tharp boasts work experience with Texas Instruments, Aerospace Corporation, and Data General (now EMC).

He has maintained a close association with computer science accreditation for nearly 20 years, and recently served as an ABET/CAC (Computing Accreditation) commissioner.

Please join us in extending our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Alan L. Tharp for his outstanding contributions and dedicated service to our department, NC State University, and the great state of North Carolina.

Return To News Homepage