George Springer


School of Informatics Distinguished Service Award (2012)


George Springer has devoted a lifetime – from teaching to leadership to academic research – to Indiana University. For close to 50 years, he has been a mainstay in the storied computer science program at IU Bloomington, impacting literally thousands of students and working tirelessly on countless research projects. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Springer received a BS in physics from the Case School of Applied Science (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1945 – where he was given the award for having the highest grades in the graduating class. He then went on to receive a master's degree in math at Brown University in 1946 and his PhD in math from Harvard University in 1949.

Once done with his schooling, Springer embarked on a career dedicated to teaching and research. He was an instructor at MIT from 1949–51, an assistant professor at Northwestern University from 1951–55, and a professor at the University of Kansas from 1955–64. He then joined the faculty at IU where he held a dual appointment in computer science and math. In his 48-year tenure at IU, he has served in many different capacities – from chair of the math department (1967–71) to acting dean of research and graduate development (1980–82). He is currently professor emeritus of both computer science and mathematics. Springer's primary research interest is programming language education.

He has authored or co-authored five books and many more articles, served as editor of numerous mathematics journals, was the winner of the Standard Oil Outstanding Teacher award at IU (1971), and received two Fulbright Awards to Germany in 1954 and 1961. Springer's later career at IU was devoted to the development and teaching of one of the first computer science courses, "Introduction to Computer Science." Despite having retired many years ago, he continues to teach the computer science "Honors Seminar" class each semester, allowing our honors students to hear first hand about the research
going on at the School.