The Aaron Finerman papers document his career as an information technology professional. Organized into two series, Personal and Career and Professional Activities, the papers span the years 1950-1990 with the bulk of the material documenting the years between 1962 and 1989. The Finerman papers document his contributions to the emerging information technology profession. His papers offer insight into the differences between the worlds of industry and academia, as he worked in both. Finerman's travels and interests as documented in his papers also provide insight into the development of information technology on an international level. Related collections at the Bentley Historical Library include the records of the University of Michigan Information Technology Division, the University of Michigan Computing Center, and the papers of Bernard Galler, who was a close friend of Finerman.
Born on April 1, 1925 in New York City, Aaron Finerman graduated from Townsend Harris High School in New York City in 1948. He received a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the City College of New York. He continued his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), receiving the S.M. degree in 1951 and the Sc.D. degree in 1956. While at MIT, he used the Whirlwind computer for his research, his first exposure to the emerging computer field. Finerman joined Republic Aviation Corporation in 1956 and headed up the computing and data processing division. Finerman joined the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1961 as professor of engineering and director of a newly created Computing Center. Finerman also initiated the academic program in computing at SUNY, resulting in the creation of the Department of Computer Science in 1970.
In 1971 Finerman took a two-year leave of absence from Stony Brook and went to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California as manager of the Office of Computing and Information Systems. Finerman returned to Stony Brook in 1973 and stayed until 1978, when he joined the University of Michigan as director of the Computing Center and professor of computer and communication sciences. Finerman was director of the Computing Center until 1986. He retired from Michigan in January 1990, after a one-year sabbatical at Florida Atlantic University. Beginning in August 1990 Finerman was reappointed to active status as professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science and director emeritus of the Computing Center for several one-year terms.
Finerman was active professionally throughout his life. He received the 1981 Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Computing Machinery and was the ACM representative to the American Federation of Information Processing Societies in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Finerman was also involved in organizing the Jerusalem Conference on Information Technology, a conference held in Israel beginning in 1971. Sponsored by the Israel Information Processing Association, the conference was devoted to computer technology and developing countries; one of its goals was to help establish Israel as a leader in information technology in the Middle East. Finerman was a member of the program committee for the first conference, chairman of the program committee for the third conference, held in 1978, and U.S. chairman for the fourth conference, held in 1984.
Finerman and his first wife, Gloria Blum, were married December 24, 1949. They had two children, Jay and Ann. Gloria died in 1966 and Finerman was remarried to Carol in 1968. She had two children from an earlier marriage. Finerman's son Jay died in 1979 and his daughter in 1980. Finerman died in 1994.