In Memoriam — Bio excerpt from “Bob’s Story” (University of Utah):
Bob was one of the founders of EAE and led the program as its first Director for nine years. Previously he had served as the chair of the School of Computing, and was the founder of the Center for Software Science, a state of Utah Center of Excellence. He was a consummate mentor and teacher and was awarded both the University of Utah’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001, and the IEEE Computer Society’s Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2019. Through his work, he had a transformative impact on the dozens of staff and faculty that had the privilege to work for him, and thousands of students that learned from him. Bob’s love for teaching and for EAE students was obvious to everyone who knew him, as was the respect and love shown to him by the students that he inspired, many of whom freely admit that having Bob as their professor changed their lives and opened up careers for them.
Bob co-founded EAE along with two graduate students, Roger Altizer and Mark van Langeveld, who are now EAE faculty. At a time when there were only a handful of games programs on college campuses, Bob worked with his collaborators to pioneer a new model for games teaching and scholarship, and created EAE as a teaching program in 2010. “Bob was a friend, mentor, and role model,” said Roger Altizer, “he was about to start retirement when we started EAE. He decided to stay at the U, instead, because he saw the potential of games as an academic field, as well as the passion of his students and colleagues. Without Bob there would be no EAE. I’m not sure I’d be a professor without his support, and I know that the hundreds of game developers out there who studied under him would say the same about their careers. The U, EAE, it’s students, faculty, and staff all know that we owe so much of our happiness and success to Bob. Some shoes are hard to fill, his will be impossible to do so.”