Distinguished Alumni Awards

Raymond Edward Ozzie

Raymond Edward Ozzie
To Raymond E. Ozzie for his vision, determination, and programming skill in development of Lotus Notes, a program that enables groups of people to work collaboratively over computer networks.

Chairman, Iris Associates, Westford, Massachusetts

BS, Computer Science, 1979, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ray Ozzie has made a major contribution to the field of computer science and to the way in which organization and corporations function. Bill Gates, president of Microsoft Corporation, has called Ozzie "one of the top five programmers in the universe." His life's work to date is a direct continuation of work that he began at UIUC while he was a student. Building on his experience with the PLATO system on campus, Ozzie went on to create Lotus Notes, today's leading groupware software.

Most of Ozzie's professional career has involved software and systems design and programming. After graduation, he joined Date General Corporation, where he worked on that are now known as client-server systems. As the personal computer industry was beginning to emerge, he went to Software Arts, publisher of VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet. There he honed his cross platform skills by porting VisiCalc to various platforms. Ozzie then joined Lotus Corporation where he worked on a new version of its spreadsheet, Lotus 1-2-3, before serving as lead programmer for Lotus Symphony, the first integrated software package for the PC, which includes word processing, database management, spreadsheet, business graphics, communications, and a macro language.

In 1984, with seed money from Lotus, he formed his own software company, Iris Associates. Ozzie's work as a systems programmer for the PLATO system, while he was a student, shaped his quest to produce what was to become Notes. After five years of hard work, the first version of Notes was introduced. Now in its fourth version and in use by more than 9 million people worldwide, notes is recognized as the leading groupware product. Iris Associates was purchased by Lotus in 1994. Lotus was then sold to IBM Corporation, on the strength of Notes, in 1995. Ozzie remains chairman of Iris.

In 1995, Ray Ozzie instigates and helped arrange a Lotus Notes site license for the University of Illinois. Lotus Notes will be made available to everyone at the university, and its applications will be many. It will allow people in remote locations to share information to collaborate effectively and it will provide a secure means of communication among groups of people. In some cases, Notes could change the way in which we work by essentially removing the barriers of time and distance.

Ozzie has been an advocate of the University of Illinois, mentioning his roots here on many occasions when speaking publicly or to the press.

Current as of 1997.