As part of our ongoing series that highlights NHTI alumni, the following blog post is written by Sterling Hough, an accomplished alum who boasts these fine qualifications:
- 1971-1973 Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) student
- 2001-2004 Computer Engineering Technology (CPET) professor
- 2005-2011 Animation and Graphic Game Programming (AGGP) /CPET/EET department head
- 2011 Retired as department head of AGGP/CPET/EET
- 2012-2018 CPET adjunct professor
My association with NHTI has been a rewarding one and began in 1971 after spending four years in the U.S. Navy as a shipboard radio technician. I actually took NHTI’s assessment test at sea administered by a young ensign. The Navy released me a couple of months early so that I could make the beginning of the 1971 fall semester. I was pleased to see that a quarter of the incoming EET freshman class were veterans like myself.
NHTI was a different experience in that era. The entire campus enrolled about 400 students in a few engineering technology programs and a few allied health programs. Little Hall was the engineering technology and science building and also housed the sole cafeteria as it does today. MacRury Hall was the allied health building but did not include the addition done around 2005. There was a small library building and Strout Residence Hall had just been built. The entrance into the NHTI campus at that time was driving in from I-93 past Strout Hall into a large parking lot located behind where Grappone Hall is located today. The campus had an entirely different look from that perspective.
NHTI’s staff and faculty were first rate starting with the NHTI Director Dr. George Strout. William Simonton was an associate professor in the English Department and Chuck Annal was an instructor in the same department. Stuart Cady ran the Electronic Engineering Technology department with Jim Sindelar, Roy Ferguson, Bob Poirier, John Aspnes, Len Cheney and Charlie Downs as full time EET professors. My favorite professors outside of the EET department were Bruce Ferguson (English), Dave Bashaw (Math) and John Tunney (Eng/SocSci).
My two years at NHTI flew by and before I knew it I was graduating in the spring of 1973 with 37 other EET graduates. That was a typical size graduating class in that era. I was fortunate to land a job with AT&T Bell Labs where I had interned in the summer of 1972. I was very well prepared for my Technical Associate starting position and spent the next 30 years working for the premier telecommunications R&D company in the world.
During my years at Bell Labs, I earned a BS in Electric Engineering Technology and an MS in Computer Engineering. I was actually able to put my education to practical use developing microwave radio, fiber optics and switching products used throughout the United States and the world. During my 30 years I worked my way up the technical side of Bell Labs reaching a final position of Distinguished Member of Technical Staff before retiring in 2001.
After retiring from Bell Labs at the age of 51, I sent my resume to NHTI and received a response requesting an interview. The CPET/EET department head – George Flantinis – and Professor Terry Simkin interviewed me and offered me a full time teaching position in the CPET program as a full-time Professor. I loved teaching and working with the students. After Prof Flantinis passed in 2005, I became the department head for the next 6 years until my second retirement in 2011. I continued to teach a single course in the fall semester until 2018.
My accomplishments as the CPET/EET department head included introducing the Animation & Graphic Game Programming major, increasing enrollment and creating easy transferability into UNH-Manchester and UNH-Durham into BS programs in electronic engineering technology, electrical engineering and computer science. Many NHTI graduates from AGGP, CPET and EET have taken this path in the past 15 years.
In summary, my association with NHTI spans a total of 47 years from being a student in 1971, being a full time professor from 2001-2011 and being an adjunct professor from 2012-2018. NHTI is a wonderful two year college and provided me with a huge jump start to my career as an electrical and computer engineer and also as an educator.
I would not be the same person today without my NHTI beginning.