My history with Smalltalk stretches back to the 90s and I'm happy to say has come back on the scene in 2019.
My first exposure was thanks to an elective that I took with Bjorn Freeman-Benson back in (I believe) Fall 1992 at the . I should go dig up my transcripts to check but I am pretty sure it was that semester which coincided with my first OOPSLA (see below).
Bjorn offered a course dedicated to Object-Oriented Programming which at the time was avant-garde. I was definitely glad that I registered for the course. I still remember our final project (Ian, Helen, Mark and myself) implementing a card game with a full GUI. I should do some research about which version of Smalltalk we were using then. My guess is Smalltalk/V or perhaps Visual Smalltalk Enterprise.
"Smalltalk books" flickr photo by eMaringolo https://flickr.com/photos/emaringolo/187719974 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
My visits with Bjorn during this semester led to my first trip to an OOPSLA (Object-Oriented Programming Systems Languages and Applications) conference as a student volunteer. Bjorn was the student volunteer chair for that year: 1992 in Vancouver. I went on to continue as a volunteer at OOPSLA 94 and then part of the organizing committee from 1995 to 2007. That is a long story that should be told somewhere.
University of Washington
I continued working with Bjorn doing a directed studies course where I implemented a constraint solver from his Ph.D. research in a new programming language: Beta. That was a blast and I learned so much about object-oriented programming with that project.
Turns out that Bjorn appreciated my work or attitude or something and suggested that I apply for grad school a the University of Washington. I did apply and I was accepted and went there in the Fall of 1993 but that is another story for another day.
Closing the loop, I discovered Pharo thanks to a friend in our Alea Iacta Est gaming community. My previous work with Smalltalk was Squeak many years ago and I didn't use it that much. I'm not really sure why.
I was able to give a very quick introduction to Smalltalk and "object think" to my TC2004 Analysis and Modeling of Software Systems course with two one-hour sessions but it was nowhere near enough. Based on that experience, I decided to make a big push in that same course this semester to really give them a solid experience with Smalltalk. I will have to report on that later.
We have become a Pharo Consortium Academic partner, you can check out our Tec de Monterrey logo linked there on the page.