I was a junior at NDSU in 1999, just walking around the Computer Science department. Honestly, I don’t even remember why now. As I was walking by Dr. Slator’s office door, I saw a sign that said something along the lines of “Undergraduate researcher needed to build educational games”. I thought that was kind of interesting, so I (very nervously) went into his office and asked what it was about. I would have never dreamed that one single choice and offer would have led to working with him on more than half a dozen educational games for just short of two decades of my life. Because of his efforts to keep me intellectually and financially supported (through his many federal grants), I am now able to teach students of my own at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, MO.
I have so many other memories as well, from the fact that he was the first CS professor my parents and I met when we first toured NDSU, going to conferences with him, weekly meetings in the lab or at WoWiWe headquarters at the tech park, working on grants at the Turf, and many many more.
I’m going to close by referencing the picture that’s attached. Dr. Slator isn’t in it, but the two hats are symbolic of his fun and eclectic personality. I’m on the left, Guy Hokanson is on the right. The red hat is for people who finish their Ph.D. The green hat is for people who finish their Masters. I imagine he gave out dozens of green hats, two red ones, but that black Batman hat, and the incredible man who wore it, will always be missed.