Winifred Asprey

American computer scientist
Winifred "Tim" Alice Asprey (April 8, 1917 – October 19, 2007) was an American mathematician and computer scientist. She was one of only around 200 women to earn PhDs in mathematics from American universities during the 1940s, a period of women's underrepresentation in mathematics at this level. She was involved in developing the close contact between Vassar College and IBM that led to the establishment of the first computer science lab at Vassar. While a student at Vassar College, Asprey met Grace Hopper who later introduced her to computing while working on the UNIVAC project in Philadelphia. Asprey was born in Sioux City, Iowa; her parents were Gladys Brown Asprey, Vassar class of 1905, and Peter Asprey Jr. She had two brothers, actinide and fluorine chemist Larned B. Asprey (1919–2005), a signer of the Szilárd petition, and military historian and writer Robert B. Asprey (1923–2009) who dedicated several of his books to his sister Winifred. Asprey earned MS and PhD degrees from the University of Iowa in 1942 and 1945, respectively. She taught mathematics and computer science at Vassar for 38 years, chairing the mathematics department by 1957, until her retirement in 1982. In 1963, she started the computer science curriculum at Vassar and in 1967 helped Vassar become the second college in the nation to acquire an IBM System/360 computer.

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