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Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper
Ink and watercolor on 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper
The latest addition to my ‘She Changed the World’ collection!

You’re able to read this because of the work Grace Hopper (1906-1992) did.

Working as a mathematics professor at Vassar College, she enlisted in the Navy at age 34 to help her country during World War II. Initially she was a programmer on the Mark I computer during the war. She invented the first compiler for a computer programming language, seeing the possibilities for computers beyond arithmetic. She also pushed for English to be the language used in COBOL, the most ubiquitous business language to date. She served in the Navy until 1966 at age 60, but was recalled to active duty a year later and finally retired in 1971, but returned again in 1973. During this final tenure she was promoted to the rank of Commodore by Presidential appointment. She was involuntarily retired in 1986 at age 79, and at her retirement was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat decoration awarded by the Department of Defense.

She spent the rest of her life touring the country giving lectures on the importance of computers and working with younger people to push the technology forward.

Her work legitimately changed the entire world.