Creator of Roanoke College's first website retires after 31 years

Salem, Va. - Dr. James Dalton set the stage for Roanoke College's technology future.

The innovator, who came to Roanoke to teach chemistry, created the College's first website and email system. He retired this week after 31 years at Roanoke.

Dalton was hired in 1980 as a chemistry professor but after seven years, he moved into computing and information technology. Personal computers had come onto the market, and his interest in technology and computers took over. He became director of academic computing and eventually, director of overall computing. Dalton retires as the College's vice president for Information Technology.

Thanks to Dalton, Roanoke launched its first world wide website, Internet connection and email system. Colleagues describe him as a visionary with an enormous drive to learn.

Dalton holds degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Gettysburg College and a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of South Carolina.

"This is a remarkable pioneer for Roanoke," said Michael Maxey, Roanoke president, during a retirement reception for Dalton this week. "We owe you a debt of gratitude for making us a better college."

Dalton, an avid triathlete, plans to focus on competing during his retirement. Last August at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship, he qualified for the World Championship Triathlon in New Zealand in October. He has other international and national competitions planned as well.

Dalton described retiring from Roanoke as similar to a triathlon, which requires athletes to move from swimming, biking and running throughout the race.

"I'm transitioning from one event to another," he said of leaving Roanoke.

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as the 18th most beautiful campus in its "Best 376 Colleges" 2012 guidebook.

Released: April 27, 2012
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