Oral history interview with Molly Lou Reko

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Oral history interview with Molly Lou Reko

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Charles Babbage Institute


Oral History


Molly Lou Reko grew up in Amarillo, Texas, and graduated from Colorado College in 1958 with a degree in math, then taught mathematics at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. After taking time to raise children, she attended master’s classes at the University of Minnesota (her husband Al Reko then worked for Control Data in Minnesota) in the early 1970s and became connected to the local Minnesota educational computing network TIES, or Total Information for Educational Systems. Her husband encouraged her, with the background in mathematics and teaching, to apply to Control Data. She went to work on the PLATO multi-media computer project. She describes several PLATO programming languages, learning activities or modules, and educational products. She developed PLATO content for the Control Data Institutes, describing William Norris and his deep enthusiasm for PLATO, then managed a group of two dozen PLATO programmers. She also relates her experience with Control Data’s emphasis on corporate social responsibility, including early hiring of women and minorities, as well as work on CDC microcomputers. She completed a master’s degree in computer design and development at University of St. Thomas. In 1989 Control Data’s PLATO division was sold to The Roach Organization (TRO), then in 1991 she went to work for Northwest Airlines initially doing corporate education with microcomputers then working on worldwide installation of computing resources for Northwest’s Airport of Preference system. She offers assessments of Datamation advertisements from the late 1960s. This material is based on work funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award B2014-07 “Tripling Women’s Participation in Computing (1965-1985).”


Transcript, 48 pp.

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Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award B2014-07 “Tripling Women’s Participation in Computing (1965-1985).”

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Molly Lou Reko, OH 510. Oral history interview by Thomas J. Misa, 30 November 2015. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

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Reko, Molly Lou. (2015). Oral history interview with Molly Lou Reko. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/188551.

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