No Mystery Here: Technology Pioneer John C. Nash ’67 Got His Start at Princeton

John Nash '67

Touching up a too-dark photo or using a fancy font for an invitation was made easier by computer graphics programs that the software giant Adobe Systems introduced — and John C. Nash ’67 helped develop those products.

Nash, who died March 6, 2018, in Los Altos, California, began as a staffer when Adobe had only 100 employees. He rose to become the company’s principal scientist, and retired in 2005 having helped establish one of our world’s indispensable business tools.

Nash didn’t forget that it was at Princeton where he discovered his love of mathematics, switching from psychology after spending his sophomore summer catching up on courses he needed to change his major. His bequest to the University, given for the University to use where it is most needed, was just shy of $1 million.

At Princeton, Nash was Elm Club’s ace pool player, competing in inter-club tournaments, as well as a member of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, the James Madison Humorous Debating Society, and the Stock Investment and Analysis Club.

After graduation, Nash earned a Ph.D. at Stanford and taught math at the university level for eight years. As the digital revolution heated up, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area to join a small software design firm, Versatec Corp., that was a subsidiary of Xerox. After three years, he moved to Adobe Systems, where he spent the rest of his career.

In retirement, Nash continued his hobbies of cooking and hiking, and of collecting rare books focused on 1930s Los Angeles detective fiction by the likes of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. He also enjoyed watching the film noir versions Hollywood produced.

While he called the West Coast home, he came back east and marched in the P-rade for his 50th Reunion.