IIT Computer Science Pioneer Robert B.K. Dewar Passes Away

Robert B.K. Dewar, a pioneer in computer science at Illinois Tech, passed away on June 30, 2015.

Dewar taught information science and computer science at IIT as the field was taking off in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was extremely influential in the development and education of students of the time, who remember him as a brilliant teacher, programmer, role model, and friend who encouraged them in the new field and gave them confidence to wade into its most difficult parts.

“He was the best lecturer I ever had,” said Jeffrey Friedman (CS ‘74). “He could explain the most complex concepts and you would understand them easily—his lecture on recursion is famous. I also worked with him after IIT at Blue Cross Association on a COBOL language macro processor, and at Realia. His amazing ability to write nearly mistake-less code as fast as he could type continued throughout his career—he rescued many projects along the way with that skill.

“And he smiled and laughed and was a great conversationalist, and always had interesting things to talk about. He really was a true genius. It is always a shame when the world loses somebody of his caliber.”

In 2011, the IIT College of Science honored Dewar and others at an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the computer science department. “From the exchanges and interactions at this event, it was abundantly clear what an important influence Dewar was in the early days of the field at IIT,” said Dean Russell Betts.

Read more about Dewar here.