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The Right Place At The Right Time - Part I

Updated on March 24, 2019
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

I am a spiritual man. I believe in a higher power and I am a religious man. Sometimes, things just happen and you just have to wonder...is this a coincidence or is this God’s will?

- Feb. 2019

A Congruence of Events...

The story I am relating come about by a serious of random events. Somehow, it lead to my getting involved along with an old teammate from 40 years earlier, to help our Alma Mater‘s archives with a digitization project. Here is how it happened to the best of my knowledge.

1. I attended CCNY from 1969-1974 and was a member of rhe Men’s Varsity Fencing team.

2. I worked at IBM Research for 28 years and retired in 2002. Over that period, my job was in helping libraries and museums to digitize their content and make them available via the web. Some of our customers were high profile institutions including the Vatican Library and the Library of Congress and the Hermitage museum...

3. I joined the CCNY Alumni organization a year ago mainly to help with improving our school’s athletic program.

4. I attended the Annual Alumni dinner held at the Great Hall in Sheppard Hall, in 2018, the first time I attended this event in the forty four years since my graduation.

5. Sitting in my table, was a couple who happens to be the Archivist at CCNY and her husband is a history professor also at the college.

6. My teammate from 1972 was recently retired and reconnected with me and decided to join our small group of alumni fencers to help the current fencing team. As a side project, he decided on his own to do some research into the history of CCNY Fencing going back to 1929. He started visiting the CCNY Archives to research into old year books.

7. While there, by accident, he came across a few boxes of old sports photos and plaques. These were salvaged from the walls of the gymnasium while they were renovated a few years back.

8. As it turned out, the archivist has been working on her own for a few years to request the Athletic office to transfer these photos to the Archive. They were ready to discard them to make space. Luckily, they were approved after numerous tries by the Archivist and these historical items were saved.

9. My friend and I decided it would be great if we could digitized these photos and make them available to the school population. CCNY has a rich history in sports, as in basketball and Fencing and other sports. We were a powerhouse back in the 1950s and the 1960s where some of these photos were taken.

10. The new President Dr. Boudreau got wind of our efforts and were fully supportive.

11. The rest is history in the making...my friend and I are now officially volunteers to the CCNY and working in the Archives P/T to complete this project.

12. We will have something in a few weeks of time and the results will be made available in the ArtStor collection mangement system.

Sample Photo...ECAC Fencing Championship

Summary

I am a spiritual man. I believe in my heart that I was destined to do this task. It was not an accident. Things like a puzzle just came together at the right place and the right time. I am grateful for the support from my friends and colleagues. This is a small project by my past experience but it is just as importsnt to me. It is the history of my alma mater, which has done so much for my career and my life. This is my way of giving back.

© 2019 Jack Lee

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