Columbia University Professor Benjamin D. Wood and IBM President Thomas J. Watson at the NORC dedication, Columbia University, 2 December 1954. Photo: IBM Business Machines, 23 December 1954 , courtesy Herb Grosch.
Ben Wood came to Columbia as an instructor in education in 1921, and was a professor from 1924 until he retired in 1962. By the late 1920s, Wood was head of Columbia's Bureau of Collegiate Educational Research, and was interested in automation of test scoring. He wrote to a number of office-machine companies about the problem but struck a responsive chord only at IBM, where he had an unheard-of day-long interview with company president Thomas J. Watson (pictured above many years later), who promptly gave him several truckloads of punched-card equipment, with which Wood established Columbia's first mechanized computing laboratory, the Columbia University Statistical Bureau, in 1929, Wallace Eckert's first exposure to punched-card equipment.
Wood is also remembered for his role in the development of the first automatic test scoring machine, the IBM 805:
Wood is shown above (left) with Reynold B. Johnson (right), hired by IBM at Wood's behest to engineer the 805, which was announced in 1937.