Wesley Graham hired me when I could not find a job anywhere else
Marian Forster (BSc ’64) shares how she got her first job, thanks to a beloved University of Waterloo professor
By Marian Forster (BSc ’64) Alum
After graduating with a three-year degree in math and physics, I could not find a job anywhere. I was 21 years old, female, and looked 14. Well, I could have been a key punch operator for Bell, but I turned that down.
Months went by and I had to get a student loan to tie me over. I was still eating at the cafeteria and Wesley (then Professor Graham to me) would stop to talk every day: "Have you found a job yet?" And then, finally: "If you haven’t found a job in another month, come to me and I’ll make one for you."
And, that’s how I got my first job after graduation. What a gift!
I believe there were only six employees in the Computer Science Department, situated in a few classrooms in the physics building. I never did see the Red Room, but I did help plan it. I helped name Watfor. I helped debug Watfor.
I worked closely with Wesley. He eventually moved me to an office adjacent to his. We spent much time together, in confidence, as working friends.
I think it may be possible that I was the first computer librarian and possibly the first user-friendly on-campus consultant in fortran. In the world?
Maybe I exaggerate. I don’t know.
Of particular interest is my experience as an early female employee and how my input often changed or influenced some decisions. How Wesley and I would disagree. I was a headstrong young woman and he a man, softly human, with a wide vision and surety that it was reachable.