UVic honours leader in transgender movement

Lynn Conway was given an honorary UVic doctor of engineering for her work as a computer scientist

  • Dec. 5, 2016 1:00 p.m.

Lynn Conway

The University of Victoria’s new chair in Transgender Studies was at the forefront of the fall convocation last month when visiting engineer Lynn Conway was given an honorary UVic doctor of engineering for her work as a computer scientist.

Conway was a fitting guest to have as UVic celebrates its groundbreaking role as the first school with a chair in Transgender Studies, which launched back in June, thanks in part to a $1 million U.S. grant from the Tawani Foundation.

Conway spoke briefly at the convocation but also delivered a strong tale of her life, in both the shadows of society and early computer engineering. When Conway underwent gender transition in 1968 she was fired from IBM despite her foundational research in computer architecture. She was forced to rebuild her career secretly moving on with a new name and identity.

Her work was part of the revolution in Very Large Scale Integrated silicon microchip design as she helped to pioneer modern information technology, as well as becoming a leading advocate for transgender rights. The latter, of course, came later, as society slowly grew accepting, moving forward on its backward ideals.

Conway came out upon retirement in 1999 as emerita professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. A tireless voice for trans people, she was included in Time magazine’s 2014 list of 25 transgender people who have influenced American culture.

She taught at MIT, co-authored the foun-dational engineering textbook Introduction to VLSI Systems, and innovated an internet e-commerce system for rapid silicon-chip prototyping that led to today’s industrial models for microelectronics design and production.

Media documentation of her visit and historical documentation of her work will now live in the Transgender Archives at UVic, which is committed to the preservation of the history of pioneering activists, community leaders, and researchers who have contributed to the betterment of transgender and gender nonconforming people.

 

Just Posted

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

Saanich soccer player survives bout with flesh eating disease

Harinder Sandhu picked up the disease after soccer game

Two-sailing waits continue Victoria to Tsawwassen

Backlog continues despite extra sailings over Easter

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 straws each year

Most Read