In Memoriam


The mainframe system, Nell, 32, retired December 2016. Nell was born in 1985 on the campus of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

In the early 1980’s, SHSU began investigating the possibility of adding a computer to campus. The original technology was purchased and implemented around 1985. It was named Nell after Little Nell from the Charles Dickens novel The Old Curiosity Shop.

Over time, Nell became instrumental to the success of the University because it was the conduit for all data coming into or going out. Acting as the information hub, Nell was essential to creating computer accounts, receiving admissions applications, sending and receiving transcripts, all university financials, payroll, and much more.

Dr Bowers and Richard King Pictured: President emeritus, Dr. Elliott T. Bowers, and former director of the Computer Center, Richard King, work on one of SHSU's first computers.

As time passed, Nell was upgraded to newer hardware to keep pace with the growth of the University and the expanding services provided by IT@Sam. As she aged, however, Nell began to be supplemented by other servers that could help her provide more modern services to campus. The last upgrade took place in 2009 and by 2010, with the inception of Banner, Nell began to relinquish many of the core services and phased into retirement.

Nell is preceded in retirement by Oliver, Freya, Thor, and Loki. Nell is survived by Banner. IT@Sam will receive students, faculty, and staff at their workstations. In lieu of flowers, learn more about the new operation system, Windows 10. In March of 2017, IT@Sam completed the conversion of remaining data and programs from Nell. Through it all, Nell played an integral role in the history of IT@Sam.