Southwestern Adventist University entered a new era in the computer age on December 7, nearly three decades ago when BTI/8000 mini-computer, affectionately named Trixie Pearl, arrived on campus. Trixie Pearl quickly made herself useful, until she was involved in almost every aspect of administrative and student life. She was used for recruiting, admissions, registration, academic records, financial aid, alumni and donor records, payroll, library card catalog, and faculty gradebooks. Students also used Trixie Pearl for writing term papers, resumes, letters, homework, airing opinions, exchanging electronic mail and learning the joys and frustrations peculiar to using computers.
Trixie Pearl retired from Southwestern, shutting down operations on June 17,1991, and moving to New Jersey. Southwestern installed a new and improved computer system to carry on in her place.
Steve Sowder, Southwestern’s director of computer services for many years, and those who worked with Trixie Pearl established a scholarship in her name for deserving students majoring or minoring in computer science.