Grace Murray Hopper

Events

Grace Murray is Born

December 9th, 1906

Grace Murray is born on December 9th, 1906 in New York City, New York. Her parents are Walter and Mary Murray. She has a sister Mary, who is 3 years younger than her, and a brother Roger, who is 5 years younger than her.

Grace Starts at Vassar College

1925

Grace begins school at Vassar College in New York - studying mathematics and physics.

Grace Graduates and Moves on to Yale University

1928

Grace graduates from Vassar and moves on to study at Yale University, working on a Master's degree in Mathematics.

Grace Gets a Degree and Gets Married

1930

Grace gets a Master's degree in Mathematics. She also marries Vincent Foster Hopper and becomes Grace Hopper, a name she will keep long after their divorce in 1945.

Grace Teaches at Vassar & Continues Studying at Yale

1931

In 1931, Grace becomes a teacher at Vassar, where she used to go, and also keeps studying at Yale, hoping to get a Ph.D. in Mathematics.

Grace Gets a Ph.D. in Mathematics

1934

Grace gets her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale, becoming the first woman to earn such a degree.

Grace Joins the Navy

1943

World War II compels Grace into joining the US Naval Reserve in 1943. She opts for the Navy, as it was her grandfather's branch of service.

Grace is Commissioned as a Lieutenant

1944

Grace is commissioned as lieutenant in 1944, and given her mathematical background, she is assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance Project at Harvard, where she learns to program a Mark I computer.

Grace's Team Creates the First Compiler

1952

In 1952, her team creates the first compiler for computer languages (a compiler renders worded instructions into code that can be read by computers).

2nd Timer Navy Officer

1967

Hopper retired from the Naval Reserve in 1966, but her pioneering computer work meant that she was recalled to active duty—at the age of 60—to tackle standardizing communication between different computer languages. She would remain with the Navy for 19 years. When she retired in 1986, at age 79, she was a rear admiral as well as the oldest serving officer in the service.

Grace's Last Working Years

1987

Saying that she would be "bored stiff" if she stopped working entirely, Hopper took another job post-retirement and stayed in the computer industry for several more years. She was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1991—becoming the first female individual recipient of the honor.

Grace Hopper Dies

January 1st, 1992

At the age of 85, she died in Arlington, Virginia, on January 1, 1992. She was laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery.

Last Awards

2016

In 2016, Hopper is posthumously honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.