In Memoriam: September 2008

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

5 September 2008


Former Managing Director, IEEE-USA

AGE: 59

DIED: 26 April

Thomas Suttle was managing director of IEEE-USA from 1995 until he retired in 2004. He joined the organization in 1977 as staff director of professional activities.

During his tenure as staff director, Suttle oversaw numerous IEEE-USA milestones, including the launch of IEEE-USA’s online job listing service in 1995 and the passage of U.S. pension reform legislation in 2001.

He was an Air  Force intelligence officer from 1971 to 1973, based at the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Suttle earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1971 from Sewanee: The University of the South, in Tennessee. He earned a master’s degree in international studies in 1975 from Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C.



Connecticut Section Chair

Member Grade: Senior Member

AGE: 47

DIED: 21 May

Brian M. O’Connell, a professor of computer ethics, jurisprudence, pro­gramming, and robotics in the departments of com­puter science and philosophy at Central Connecticut State University, in New Britain, died of cancer.

Before joining the university, O’Connell practiced constitutional law from 1987 to 1992 as an associate attorney for the law firm Slitt & Gerace, P.C., in Hartford, Conn.

When he died, O’Connell was the IEEE Connecticut Section chair, a position he had held since 2006. He also served this year as the IEEE Computer So­ciety’s ombudsman. O’Connell also held the society’s highest grade of membership, that of Golden Core Member. From 2004 to 2005, he was president of the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology.

O’Connell earned a bachelor’s degree in 1983 in philosophy and psychology from Trinity College, in Hartford, and a law degree in 1987 from the University of Connecticut School of Law, also in Hartford.



Computer Science Professor

MEMBER GRADE: Associate Member

AGE: 47

DIED: 25 July

Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, was best known for his last lecture, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” which he gave in September after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and discovering he had a few months to live. His talk featured advice to students on how to achieve their goals and was videotaped and viewed on the Internet by millions.

He began his career in 1988 as an assistant professor of computer science at the University of  Virginia, Charlottesville. In 1995 he was creative director of Walt Disney’s Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio, in Glendale, Calif., where he worked on interactive amusement park attractions. He joined Carnegie Mellon in 1997 as an associate professor of computer science, human-computer interaction, and design. Pausch cofounded the school’s Entertainment Technology Center, which offers a master’s degree program that trains artists, engineers, and computer scientists to work together to develop entertainment technology. He also developed Alice, a computer-programming application that lets users create 3-D computer animations. Pausch was a member of the IEEE Computer Society.

After his talk became so popular, he coauthored a book, The Last Lecture (Hyperion, 2007), which became a bestseller. He was one of ABC News’ three 2007 “Persons of the Year,” and Time magazine named him one of its 100 most influential people in the world.

He received a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1982 from Brown University, Providence, R.I. He earned a Ph.D., also in computer science, in 1988 from Carnegie Mellon.

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