Zan Schulten: Good Deeds
For Catholics in Europe, the eve of December 6th has a special meaning. It is the time that Saint Nikolaus and his companion Squire Ruprecht visit every home with their book of merits. On the right side are written a person's good deeds--and St. Nikolaus rewards those good acts with praise and gifts of candy and small presents. On the left side are written a person's bad deeds--and Squire Ruprecht rewards those bad acts with a frown and a warning to do better next year.
For Pia Gratton we see only things written on the right side of the book of merit. She performed a tough job well, and her job was never easy. It may be listed as a research programmer in the School of Chemical Sciences Computing Center, but in reality she was its heart and soul. She handled all problems--from crashing computers, non-communicating networks, impatient faculty, accounting nightmares, and clueless administrators trying to read their email--with skill, good humor, and a smile. She touched the lives of the over 900 users of the School's computer systems in many small ways. To those of us who saw her daily, requesting help and information, the loss i s clear, great, and painful.
(Zan Schulten is the Faculty Advisor for the Computer Center. This text was read at the Memorial by Prof. Paul Bohn, Director of Chemistry Dept.)