Press release
March 15, 2010

Founding Computer Science Chair Julian Feldman Earns UCI Alumni Association's Extraordinarius Award

Irvine, Calif., — Julian Feldman, founding chair and professor emeritus of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, has been named recipient of the Extraordinarius award at UC Irvine's 40th annual Lauds & Laurels ceremony to be held on May 13 at the Fairmont Newport Beach. The ceremony will also recognize alumna Rebecca "Beki" Grinter, an associate professor at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

When Julian Feldman joined UC Irvine in 1964 from UC Berkeley, the basic academic plan for UCI was already established, but the plan did not include an academic program in information and computer science. In 1964-65 Feldman and Fred Tonge proposed such an academic program. A faculty committee was formed to consider the proposal. The proposal moved forward in the Fall of 1967, when Vice Chancellor Jack Peltason appointed Feldman as the founding chair of the department of information and computer science. To encourage cooperation with all of the disciplines on campus, Peltason agreed that the department would be independent of all of the existing schools for five years. Other necessary approvals on and off campus were completed, and the department was formally established in 1968.

"Even in the early years of the discipline, Julian understood the vital role computing would play in the future of education and scientific discovery," says Debra Richardson, founding Dean of the Bren School. "It is largely because of Julian's efforts, leadership, and extraordinary service to ICS that we are an independent school nationally recognized for its leading research."

"I am grateful for the award and thankful to my faculty, staff, and student colleagues who helped me do what I have done," said Feldman.

Feldman stepped down as Chair of the Department of ICS in 1969, when founding Chancellor Dan Aldrich asked him to manage campus computing services. He became Assistant Chancellor for Computing, the first role of its kind in the UC System. Feldman served subsequent terms as Chair of ICS again in 1971-72 and 1980-83. He has been an active member of the Academic Senate. Since retiring in 1991, he has been active in retired faculty organizations, and he helped start the University of California Health Care Facilitator Program.

Beki Grinter earned her Masters in Information and Computer Science in 1994, and her Ph.D. in 1996. Under the guidance of Jonathan Grudin, John King and Rob Kling, Beki focused on the coordination challenges in software development early in her career. Today, her research lies at the intersection of several different research communities, including computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), human computer interaction (HCI), sociology, software engineering and ubiquitous computing.

"I had not really considered getting a Ph.D. until I found my research passion at UC Irvine — human-centered computer science," said Grinter. "This was at a time when very few universities were focused on the relationship between computers and society. I've been able to carry the passion and experience learned at Irvine with me through my careers in industry and academia."

One of Grinter's best-known publications, "Instant Messaging in Teen Life", coauthored with Leysia Palen M.S. '95 and Ph.D. '98, was reported as one of the 15 most-downloaded papers on the ACM Digital Library for the year of 2006. Her work is highly referenced by other experts in the field, and also has been highlighted numerous times by the media such as O.C. Register, ComputerWorld, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, CNN International, Discovery Channel, and Health Magazine.

"Beki's constant search for answers to the questions surrounding the use, adoption and benefit of technology contributes to improved understanding of design needs and implications," says Richardson. "Her research on the effect of certain technologies on people — whether the single user at home, or group users collaborating at the workplace — and the social impact of technologies like instant messaging, is continuously impacting the digital landscape."

Seventeen other distinguished individuals also will be feted for their commitment to UC Irvine. Awardees were selected by a committee of alumni, faculty, students and volunteers. A complete list follows. Since 1971, the association has recognized more than 600 people, with proceeds from the event benefitting UCIAA scholarship programs. The Extraordinarius award, Lauds & Laurels' highest honor, is presented to those who have prominently contributed to the advancement of UCI and its fundamental missions of teaching, research and public service.

Media interested in interviewing ICS faculty, students or alumni should contact Matt Miller at (949) 824-1562 or via email at