Fullerton College Centennial


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Irene Shaw Broden will be the first to tell you that the Shaw family’s recent history has been intimately associated with the city of Fullerton and, in particular, Fullerton College. Her parents, James Shaw and Anna Jamison, immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. They lived just five miles apart in Ireland but didn’t meet until both were living in New York. By the time they were married, in 1915, the doors of Fullerton College had already been open for two years. The young couple came to settle in Fullerton in 1921.

Irene’s older brother, James Crawford Shaw, started the college’s amateur (ham) radio club while a student and built the college’s electronically controlled scoreboard. Brother John Clifford Shaw, was on the Torch staff. While at FC in 1957, Irene Shaw prepared a research paper on the subject of computers. The college library had only three books on the subject, each of which referenced her oldest brother’s work.

James Crawford Shaw’s career was with the State of California’s Microwave Communications Division, and one of his last official duties at sea was as a radio operator on an ammunition freighter taking arms to the Gulf War. Clifford’s math skills launched his career as one of the nation’s first computer programmers, first with the Rand Corporation. He worked on some of the earliest artificial intelligence projects; developed JOSS, one of the first time-sharing systems, and its programming language, which enabled scientists to interact directly with the computer system and write their own programs; and developed demonstration programs for the Rand Tablet, one of the first graphical input devices for computers.

Irene Shaw met Paul Broden during the mid-1950s while both were students at FC. She had seen him on campus but didn’t know him until her mother called for an ambulance with Paul as a paramedic for Irene’s grandmother, who had suffered a fall. They were married in 1963. Shaw Broden continues to give back to the college that has figured so prominently in her life and the lives of her family.



Years at FC



Business (Secretarial) and Science


Advisory Board Member, Fullerton College Foundation
Member, Centennial Steering and History Committees, Fullerton College