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Jon Rickman

Born in Maryville, Rickman began teaching and became director of computing services at Northwest in 1976. He was promoted to vice president of information systems in 1996.

In 1976, Rickman initiated the purchase of a new Altair micro computer, the first commercial personal computer to be u used by the department of computer science. Prior to the Altair, Northwest only had one mini-computer, an HP 2115 with a teletype console, and one old batch computer, an IBM 360. Two years later, Rickman helped implement the first interactive academic network in Missouri, based on super mini-computer technology. With the removal of the expensive batch computer, Northwest expanded its timesharing computing power and the network of super mini-computers to  host a multitude of new interactive services including email, word processing and library information applications.

In 1987, Rickman created the first campus-wide academic comprehensive computing network and residence hall network in the nation. The network garnered national attention for Northwest through coverage by The Washington Post, USA Today and the Associated Press.

During the 1990s, Rickman continued to ensure Northwest remained on the cutting edge of the fast-evolving computer technology. In 1991, he helped create MOREnet, the Missouri Research and Educational Network, a data and digital instructional TV network that has saved Missouri schools and tax payers millions of dollars over the last 20 years. Rickman also was the first chairman of the MOREnet Board of Governors.

In 1997 at Northwest, Rickman implemented the first large academic network with quick repair desktop computers that had swap-out disk drives for quick software replacement. That same year, Northwest began deploying laptop computers to faculty, and in 2004 Northwest implemented a low cost model to provide residence hall students with laptops.

In 2008, Northwest implemented its program to provide laptops to its more than 7,000 students, making the University the first in the nation to provide both a laptop and textbooks to its students as part of their tuition.

During his 45-year professional career, Rickman wrote and edited four books and published or presented nearly 70 articles. In 2002, he also helped create the Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum at Northwest, in honor of the computing pioneer and Northwest alumna. Rickman also initiated the creation of the Northwest Online Museum.

Prior to his work at Northwest, Rickman worked as a manager for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and taught at the University of Central Missouri, The Pennsylvania State University and Southern Illinois University.

Rickman earned a doctorate in computer science from Washington State University. He earned his bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics and his master's degree in physics, both from the University of Central Missouri.
Scholarships associated with Jon Rickman
  • Jon Rickman Electronic Campus Scholarship