April 19th, 2004


In Memoriam: Dr. Michael Faiman

This afternoon jellybeanzulu IMed me with the sad news that Professor Mike Faiman of the University of Illinois passed away last Thursday (15 Apr 2004). Dr. Faiman was head of the UIUC-DCS grad program for many years, including the whole time I was a Ph.D. student in Computer Science (1993-1998) and during my year as a research scientist at NCSA.

Though he presided over some upheavals great and small, Doc Faiman faced challenge and adversity with a dry wit. The first time I ever heard the bunny rabbit thesis joke was when he told it at our graduate orientation. He loved to play squash, and was often going on about it.

I thought I'd share a couple of anecdotes about Doc Faiman to relate how he affected my life. Those of you who were fortunate to know him (and perhaps his contemporaries: my Jedi Master, Professor Emeritus Sylvian Ray, and Professor Emeritus Geneva Belford) will probably recognize these as vintage Faiman. For the rest, I hope you get a little idea of his personality from this.

Collapse )

Collapse )

There were two other occasions when I met with him, which I may go over some day, but these were my best stories. :o)
If you were at UIUC, I'd like to hear yours!

1 An expenses-paid trip it was, and let that serve as an object lesson to us state universities.