September 2, 1969--UCLA became the first node on the ARPANET, the ancestor of the Internet.
On that date, a team of engineers established the first network connection in the world. The connection was made via a IMP--an Interface Message Processor, a mainframe (SDS Sigma 7) and a 15-foot gray cable. The IMP is pictured at right, with Prof. Leonard Kleinrock. He led the team of about 20 men at UCLA who developed the fledgling network, and he still teaches there.
For his pioneering efforts--as UCLA Today announced--Kleinrock will receive the National Medal of Science from President Obama in a gala celebration at the White House, on September 29.
Linking up with another location took a few more weeks, but on October 29, a connection was established between UCLA and Stanford Research Institute. UCLA is waiting for the October date to celebrate--you can see their plans here.
In case you're interested, ARPANET's name came from the Advanced Research Projects Agency, started in 1958 to fund computer research and other scientists in the U.S. By the 1960s, they'd floated the idea of linking the computers in different research facilities so that research could be easily shared.