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James B. Maginnis Award

The James B. Maginnis Award is presented annually “to an upper division student majoring in computer science, in recognition of academic excellence.”

Professor Maginnis had been a member of the Drexel faculty since 1958. He received his BS degree in physics with a minor in mathematics in 1946 from Duke University, and his MS in physics in 1948 from Syracuse University. A member of the Navy Reserves, he was company Commander in the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps while in college, and served sea duty on the USS Columbia. From 1950 to 1952 he was recalled to active duty and served as Personnel Officer and Division Officer aboard the USS Mount Olympus. He retired from the Navy Reserves with the rank of Commander.

Professor Maginnis was employed by the American Viscose Corporation for seven years; he was Head of the Computing Research Section of the Chemical Research Division at American Viscose from 1955 to 1958. Professor Maginnis served as Director of the Computing Center at Drexel from 1958 to 1969 and, in this capacity, played a major role in the development of the computing facilities at Drexel, beginning with the introduction of the IBM 650, progressing to the IBM 1620, and then to the IBM 360. He was past chairman of the University Faculty Council, and chairman of the department Tenure Committee from 1971 to 1991.

In addition to memberships in several professional and honorary societies, he was an invited speaker at many meetings and conferences, he participated in community activities, he was a consultant to several corporations, and he served as special advisor to Governor Scranton about data processing matters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Among his publications were a text “Elements of Compiler Construction”, a text “Fundamental ANSI COBOL Programming”, and a chapter on compiler construction in a handbook of computers and computing.

Professor Maginnis was recognized as one of Drexel’s outstanding teachers. Never complacent, he continued to innovate and bring new ideas into the classroom. He touched the lives of many generations of students through his enthusiasm for teaching, and served as a source of inspiration for both students and faculty. In 1988 he was the recipient of the Samuel Mercer, Jr. Award for distinguished instruction. He will long be remembered for his sense of humor, compassion, breadth of experience, and an unyielding delight at staying abreast of the computing field.

Past Award Winners
  • 2018: Adam Feldscher
  • 2017: Austin Herring
  • 2016: Sarah Kushner
  • 2015: Jeremy Bennett
  • 2014: Kristian Calhoun
  • 2013: Akhil Kapoor
  • 2012: Keith Ayers
  • 2011: Andrew Sherman
  • 2010: Melissa Aaron
  • 2009: Richard Ratmansky
  • 2008: Timothy Chagnon
  • 2007: Sunny Huynh
  • 2006: Cosmin Nicolaescu
  • 2005: Derek Bowen
  • 2004: Olga Kerchentseva
  • 2003: Robert Lass
  • 2002: Kathy-Ann Charles
  • 2001: Mu Yang
  • 2000: Anthony Sciamanna
  • 1999: Martin Traverso
  • 1998: Joshua Henly
  • 1997: Vincent Cicirello
  • 1996: Andrew Adamov
  • 1995: Robert Sliwa
  • 1994: Joseph Valentine
  • 1993: Jeffrey Pierantozzi