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President's Message: On the Shoulders of Giants
Published
2007, Q2 (July 29, 2007)
By Larry Kunz, Chapter President
Larry Kunz
Larry Kunz



One of the, ahem, blessings of being a chapter president is that you get custody of a stack of old records and archives. In the last five years or so, we've started storing almost all of our records in digital format. But before that, there was a lot of paper. Recently, as I prepared to turn these materials over to my successor, the stacks of paper started talking to me.

No, I'm not going nuts and I don’t need a vacation. I simply mean that as I went through the old files, I was reminded of how far back they go and how much detail they contain. I was flooded with almost a quarter-century of memories of people and activities (I've been a chapter member since 1983), and I found detailed records that date back even further.

From time to time it's worth reminding ourselves that our chapter is a pioneering chapter with a long and distinguished history. Whether you're a newcomer or an old hand, you're a part of that history. I hope we'll attain even greater distinction in the coming years, but in doing so we'll surely "stand on the shoulders of giants," to steal a phrase from Isaac Newton.

From time to time it’s worth reminding ourselves that our chapter is a pioneering chapter with a long and distinguished history.From time to time it’s worth reminding ourselves that our chapter is a pioneering chapter with a long and distinguished history.
The chapter traces its roots to its establishment in May 1966 as a "branch" of the Society of Technical Writers and Publishers, as STC was known then. After a year devoted mostly to member recruitment, the first meeting on record ~~ listed as an "organizational meeting" ~~ was held on June 8, 1967, exactly 40 years ago.

From a founding group of 10 members, the rolls quickly grew to 32 in 1968. (The $12 annual dues must have seemed like a real bargain.) Today the chapter has about 300 members.

Many of the earliest chapter leaders were faculty members from N.C. State and professionals from the brand new IBM office, then located on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. (They were awaiting construction of a permanent IBM facility, in an area west of town known as RTP.) While people from State and from IBM have continued to play a vital role throughout the chapter’s history, one of our hidden strengths is the involvement of individuals from a broad and diverse range of industries and educational institutions.

Those early leaders chose the name "Carolina chapter" because theirs was the first chapter in North or South Carolina. Today STC has seven chapters in the Carolinas, including three student chapters.

Here are some more highlights:
  • For several years, our chapter sponsored a science writing competition for high-school students.
  • We conducted a regional conference every summer during part of the 1980s and most of the 1990s.
  • To the best of my knowledge, three chapter members have served on STC's international board of directors: Richard Russell (who also was STC president in 1967 to '68), Chris Benz, and myself.
As I pass the torch to Michael Harvey (who himself has played a vital role in our history), I hope everyone will draw inspiration from the people who’ve made this chapter shine. As we pass our 40th year and sail on toward our 50th, let’s continue to build on what the "giants" have given us.

Larry can be reached at lkunz at sdicorp dot com. End of article.

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