Stories About Tom

Dr. Thomas A. Nartker, founder of NMT's Computer Science Department and first Computer Center director, is remembered by his many friends and colleagues in numerous ways. This page is an informal curated collection for stories about Tom, including any quotes or sage advice he has imparted.

In His Own Words

The first and best story about Tom would be in his own words, and indeed UNLV has Tom's own detailed account of his computing career in their digital collections, by way of this interview of Dr. Nartker by Dr. David Emerson (thanks, David!).

A Lifelong Love of New Mexican Green Chile

His obituary may suggest that Tom suffered or sweated his way through many an evening meal of green chile in Socorro. But multiple colleagues independently reported that Tom's sentimental attachment to NMT included raving about green chile...and for many years driving over (perhaps 20 hours round trip) every chile season to load up his trunk with chestfulls of chiles on ice, so that he could have them all year.

Civic Test Drive

Despite the author's protest, I would expect that this story is true, or almost true. I would appreciate corroboration from a firsthand witness, or alternative versions of this story. -ed

A funny (and probably untrue) story about Tom was about a Honda Civic, which in those days (mid 1970s) was a REALLY small car - smaller than a current Fiat 500, about the size of a Smart car. Tom was 6'8" or so. One of his friends bought a Civic, and Tom wanted to test drive it. So being Tom, he opened the sunroof, put his head out the sunroof, wrapped his right leg around the far side of the stickshift into the passenger seat, and drove it.

Traditional Faculty Meetings

Multiple reports indicate that the preferred venue for NMT CS faculty meetings for some time was the Capitol Bar. So, the (alleged) oldest computer science department in New Mexico ran faculty meetings in the (alleged) oldest saloon in New Mexico. They don't call it the Wild West for nothing.