Tracy LaQuey Parker: Thank you to the Internet Society. I am honored to be inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. I know and have worked with a number of the previous inductees, and I’ve spent some time learning about the amazing accomplishments of this year’s inductees. I’m incredibly proud and humble to be a part of this group.
I often think back to my life before I started using the Internet. Well basically I had a life. But once I sat down at a Sun workstation at the University of Texas in 1988, I was completely hooked. And I’ve been addicted ever since. I thought I was the luckiest person on the planet to have that job. Because sending email to people all over the world was just about the coolest thing I had ever done. And I still think it’s amazing, almost thirty years later.
Did I envision what the Internet was going to be when it grew up? Absolutely not. But I always felt, deep down, well before the Web was invented, that the Internet was somehow going to be huge. And that it would have a profound effect on everyone’s lives, and I wanted everybody to know about it. That’s what drove me to promote it, to explain it, and to push for ways that it could be used by everyone, not just the researchers, computer scientists, and engineers. And I had so much fun. I traveled the world. I worked with many talented people. And I made a lot of friends, many of whom I’m still friends with today.
The Internet is successful because of collaboration and I’m grateful that I was a part of this contingent. I owe a great debt of thanks to everyone who supported me. They gave me the freedom and encouragement to experiment and take risks. I’d like to thank a few of these people, but my list is by no means exhaustive.
First I have to credit my Internet “pushers,” Stuart Vance and Phil Bard, who hired me at the University of Texas to create network information services for the UT campus, the Texas Higher Education Network, and the Texas Education Network.
I want to acknowledge the support and inspiration during the time I worked on The User’s Directory of Computer Networks and The Internet Companion from so many people including John Quarterman, Laura Fillmore, Vint Cerf, Jeff Houston, Susan Estrada, and Cathy Aronson.
And while I was at Cisco Systems, I benefited tremendously from the mentoring a Steve Wolff, Ed Kozel, Gary Kunis, John Morgridge, and Kate [Meither?].
Finally I want to thank my family. My parents, who happen to be here tonight, Alan and Sherry LaQuey. My children Harrison and Henry. And my husband Patrick Parker, who is also here. Patrick played a key role behind the scenes, and without his support I could not have accomplished what I did.
In closing, I have always admired the Internet’s open structure, which provides the opportunity for every participant to be a peer, and has allowed the Internet to continue to evolve. The Internet implementer’s creed defined by the great Jon Postel in RFC 793 has been a guiding rule and protocol design, and states “be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you [accept] from others.” I think this continues to be wonderful advice for both the Internet and for life in general. Thank you again.