Student seeks community's help in honoring professor's memory
Thursday, June 14, 2001
Lacey, Wash. - Up until his death, Ray
Nix, associate professor of computer science at Saint Martin's College,
had been working on a project to bring computer technology to a remote
part of East Africa. Now, one of his pupils is working to make sure that
dream is fulfilled.
Nix, 57, died at his Olalla, Wash. home
from a heart attack on June 4. He had been teaching computer science at
Saint Martin's College for 10 years.
In the year preceding his death, Nix had
been advising Bryan Leyster, a senior computer science major at Saint
Martin's, on the design and development of a computer for the nuns who
operate an orphanage in Chipole, a small village in Tanzania, Africa.
"It's important to me that I finish
this for him because it's one of the last things that he was working on
and he really wanted to see it happen," Leyster said.
Leyster will be traveling to Chipole on
July 17 along with Sister Beatrice Kapinga, O.S.B., Sister Redemista
Ngonyani, O.S.B., and Susan Leyster, Bryan's mother and director of the
Saint Martin's Spirituality Center.
Because the village does not have access
to electricity or telephones, Nix and Bryan Leyster were setting up a
solar powered computer that would be able to access the World Wide Web
with a globular, or satellite, cell phone.
"We had set up the basic system and
I am going to see what else we will need when I visit," said Bryan
"This was an important project for
professor Nix. He saw this as an opportunity for our small college to
make a tremendous difference in bridging the communication gap between
the nuns over there and the students studying here. His life revolved
around computers, he was one of the pioneers."
Memorials are still being accepted by the
Saint Martin's College office of development in Nix's name. Bryan
Leyster is hoping that donations made to the memorial fund can be used
to finance Nix's computer system.
"We need about $4,000 for the
computer system, anything helps," Leyster said. "Professor Nix
had made contacts in the community to get some of the equipment we need
donated, but unfortunately he didn't leave me a list or tell me who
before he died."
Prior to coming to Saint Martin's, Nix
spent a total of 11 years managing computer systems for Boeing Aerospace
& Electronics, Lockheed Shipbuilding Co., and Honeywell, Inc. Nix
retired from the U.S. Navy in 1980, a decorated Vietnam veteran and
recognized master training specialist, after having worked with
state-of-the-art electronic and computing devices throughout his
For more information:
Christina Ramírez-Milhoan, communications specialist
Saint Martin's College Office of Communication
360-438-4541 or firstname.lastname@example.org