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39
winter
2013
arches
The final story about writing the program to
automate the accounting for the university con-
tains a piece of information only the accounting
folks out there will fully appreciate. The time
was approaching for me to sit for the CPA exam,
and I was nervous. I had spent way too much
time in the, now-Computer Center, and I didn’t
feel ready for the exam. As the son of a CPA, I
remember my father trying to explain the dif-
ferences between a balance sheet and a profit-
and-loss statement. I could create them, but the
conceptual differences between the two eluded
me. It was while writing the programming to
create similar reports for the university that I
finally got it.
Unfortunately, the epiphany didn’t help me
with the test. I didn’t pass any of the parts. Still,
my time at Puget Sound holds some of my favor-
ite memories. I loved my job and learned more
than I ever could have imagined. In 1971, when I
received my B.A. in accounting, it was Dr. Lloyd
Stuckey who handed me my diploma at gradua-
tion and said, “Congratulations, Larry.” I greatly
admired him and was touched by the extraordi-
nary trust both he and Jack McGee, the registrar,
had placed in me. To put a student in charge of
registration and grades was a far-out idea, even
back then. I probably would have made a career
at Puget Sound had the U.S. Navy not reminded
me I owed it a couple of years of active duty.
Oh, I should mention that I did get into ev-
ery class I wanted to sign up for, as I always had
to take a trial run at the registration process and,
ahem, we needed some live data to process.
Larry Briggs lives in Portland, Ore., with his wife,
Anna. Together they have seven children. He spent
10 years with Timberline Software, where he was
one of the first vice presidents and helped take the
company public in the mid-’80s. Today he is CEO
and founder of V2A Solutions, a training, consult-
ing, and leadership-development company.
When Larry Briggs began his student job in the Data Center, the college had been doing its
accounting since the 1940s on IBM card posting machines just like the one at the top. In 1970
the school started performing the task with a Univac 9300, thanks in large part to our author.
Bettmann/Corbis
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