After a ‘Long’ career, IT chief steps down

Philip Long ’70 came to Yale as a freshman in 1966. Forty-four years later, he is ready to step down as chief information officer and director of Information Technology Services.

“I came to New Haven for school, and I never left,” he said. “I’m not saying goodbye [to Yale], I’m just moving to a different relationship,” he added, saying he plans to stay connected to the Yale community.

In the e-mail to faculty and staff last Thursday, Vice President for Finance and Business Operations Shauna King announced that Long will stay on until the end of the year, or until his replacement is found. A national search for his successor began recently, King said. Long has worked with technology at Yale since he graduated, and oversaw the implementation of the widespread use computers on the University’s campus.

“I started here in 10 ‘BE’:before e-mail,” Long said.

Long started in what was then the Yale Computer Center, in 1971. During his early years there, Yale could only use the Internet to communicate with other universities. Long helped start an email system for internal use at Yale in the early 1980s.

And that was just the beginning. Long helped build the first network within a residential college in Calhoun College whenit was renovated in 1989, and started the Student Technology Collaborative, the student-run technology support team that now operates out of Bass Library. More recently, he has worked on creating Yale’s course management system and and on puttingtechnology into Yale classrooms.

In the 1980s and early 1990s,Long said, Yale and other universities were helping to develop new information technology. But nowmost advances come from the wider world of industry,he said.

Long’s colleagues said what stood out most about him was his commitment to Yale.

ITS Deputy CIO Chris Kielt started working as the School of Management’s manager of computer services in 1987. He said that back then, when each school or department had its own computer setup, Long made sure to reach out to him and others to connect the various IT departments.

“Phil went out of his way to extend himself to create a community of IT professionals here at Yale,” he said.

Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said Longtaught many members of the faculty how to use their first computers, and helped secure one of the first “Mac” computers for Yale.

Steve Girvin, deputy provost for science and technology, who has worked with Long for the past three years, said Long has worked hard to improve Yale’s growing computer infrastructure while dealing with a difficult financial climate.

As an undergraduate, Long was already interested in the emerging field of computer science.

Although there was no computer science department at Yale when he was a student, he took five courses in the field before graduating, King said in her e-mail.

He was also a member of the varsity swimming teamand represented the U.S. in the 1968 Olympic Games.

“He bleeds Yale blue,” said Chuck Powell, senior director for academic media andtechnology. “He has an absolute passion for doing right by Yale.”

After spending 40 years working at Yale, and 10 as the chief information officer, Long said his retirement was a personal choice, and that he is ready to do different things. He said he thought this was a good time for him to step down, since the department is relatively stable.

Long said higher education remains his passion, and he wants to continue helping universities make use of technology. He added that he has spent his career thinking about the role of computers and the Internet in shaping society.

Long graduated from Jonathan Edwards College in 1970 with a bachelor’s degreein psychology.


  • Grateful

    *If I were a Yale student, Phil would be a model of the life I’d want to lead after graduating. For forty years – a full professional lifetime – he’s served Yale with awe-inspiring dedication, creativity, and wisdom. Like most employees he has done the greatest part of his work out of the spotlight, and always with the highest integrity, with fortitude, and for the good of Yale. Yale is such a wonderful place (imperfect, but always aspiring to be its best) and has been for over three centuries now. That doesn’t happen by accident or easily. That is because of the brilliant faculty, because of the top notch students, and because of the dedicated and talented staff like Phil, each of whom carves a little bit of him/herself into the beautiful architecture of the place. Phil’s name is etched invisibly on every computer, application, and internet connection. Congratulations, Phil. Yale is grateful for your service.*

  • OldSaybrook

    Phil put a kind face on computer wires for four decades. I just didn’t know the face back then. And 2014 don’t say what wires; there still are some wires (though you don’t know what a computer punch card looks like). I remember Digital Equipment (DEC) small mainframes in SSS in the 70’s. I used a portable Smith Carona typewriter, and made photocopies to “save” my documents (papers). And went to Bass (CCL) to exchange my ID for special class readings along with everyone else (but at least I had to go to the library and see people). Then PC’s and word processing in the 80’s. Email/internet in the 90’s. Intranet, real search sites, hand held devices and everything tethered to you now. [DEC and Smith Carona are out of business, but somehow computing got done and papers got typed. Perhaps because internet porn was not available to students, except with 8 mm film projectors, so it was not available–correction, the film society had one classic double feature a year of Deep Throat and the Devil in Miss Jones, or Behind the Green Door. Lucky for us (so little), I think.]

    I complained to Phil in 2001 that girls (then) were using all the student tech support to wire their computers and printers. He told me that he did not care if students knew how to set up their computers as long as they knew how to use them (and that 2001 freshmen were a new computer generation compared to 2001 seniors). Computing to word processing to continuous communication in two generations. Too little computing and too much messaging/searching/”stalking,” I complain now. I would like to know his answer to that. Leave finding balance and ending device slavery to the next generation? What incredible timing to have been there, and thanks for kindness, perspective and generosity in the process.