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Y2K Preparations Pay Off
in Smooth Transition to Year 2000
January 24, 2000

Some good old-fashioned 20th-century planning helped the University's systems move smoothly into Year 2000.

"Things went extraordinarily well," says Paul Kobulnicky, vice chancellor for information services. "It's what you get for 36 months of preparations and tremendous campus-wide involvement."

Kobulnicky and Robert Hudd, director of public safety and chief of police, coordinated the University's Y2K preparations.

Kobulnicky says the University has come across some minor problems during the first two weeks of the new century, but "it only takes five minutes to solve them.

"We will continue to discover that level of problems for a while, but they are insignificant," he says.

Information services divided its staff between two major Y2K time periods - from 11 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 7 a.m. Jan. 1 and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 1. The overnight staff monitored major computer systems. The day staff tested the major programs.

"After a thorough testing, we had a good sense by the end of the workday on Jan. 1 that we were in good shape," Kobulnicky says.

Hudd says that on New Year's Eve, police and fire personnel thoroughly checked the campus buildings, including elevators and alarm systems.

"For us, it wasn't a matter of waiting to see what would happen," he says. "We had teams go out to make sure our systems were operating."

He says public safety personnel found some problems, but they weren't related to Y2K.

"For example, we checked all 80 emergency phones and found one that wasn't working," Hudd says. "Some of the elevator phones weren't working. We've ordered repairs for those things. It was a good exercise for us."

James Hall Jr., payroll director, says his department's transition to Y2K has gone smoothly so far. The way the payroll cycle fell, the University normally would have been transmitting data to a computer system in Hartford on the first days of the new year. To avoid any potential problems, UConn moved that deadline up a week.

"We've since tested the transmission and all is well," Hall says.

Lauren Williams, Y2K project director for the Health Center, says "There was relief and excitement that we made it through the crossover without any problems.

"On Saturday (Jan. 1), only a few easily corrected problems cropped up," she says, "for example, computer screens that weren't showing data."

Williams says there still is a potential for problems, however, especially at the end of January when many reports are compiled and on Feb. 29, the first leap year day of the 2000s.

President Philip E. Austin notes that the successful start to the year was due to the combined efforts of many people: "I thank everyone at the University who worked so long and so hard to make sure the transition to the new millennium went so smoothly."

Ken Ross