Colorado State University

The Passing of Robert France, Professor of Computer Science

Prof. Robert France

The College of Natural Sciences has lost a brilliant mind and a kind heart. Robert France, a beloved member of the computer science department, passed away on the night of Feb. 15 after a battle with (nonsmoker) lung cancer. He was 54.

A member of the faculty since 1998, France was named CNS professor laureate in 2014. Professor laureate is the highest title given to college faculty, and Robert’s nomination reflects his outstanding contributions in research, teaching, mentoring, and outreach. Robert was a world-renowned researcher in the area of model-based software engineering and the use of the Unified Modeling Language. A leader in his field, he was invited to write a “state of the research” paper on model-driven software development for an International Conference on Software Engineering. The following year, an earlier paper on UML was honored with a 10-year Most Influential Paper Award at the Model Driven Engineering and Languages and Systems conference which Robert helped co-found. Robert also co-founded the Software and Systems Modeling Journal, and served as co-Editor-in-Chief from its first issue. Additionally, the Institute of Caribbean Studies honored France with the prestigious Excellence in Science and Technology Award for 2014. The ICS cites France as a notable Caribbean-American, one who “epitomizes commitment, leadership, and unmatched contributions” in science and technology. France was also named an international chair of INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, and he was a recipient of the 2014 AITO Dahl-Nygaard Senior Prize in Object Oriented Software Design.

Watch a recent video about Prof. France.

To those in the college, these recognitions came as little surprise. “Robert France was a rare scholar,” says College of Natural Sciences Dean Jan Nerger. “He was an incredibly talented and perceptive researcher, but he also reached people as few others do. He was an inspiration to us all.” A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, March 27, from 6-8 p.m. in the University Club and Cherokee Park Room.

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Donations may be made to the Robert France Fellowship at: https://advancing.colostate.edu/ROBERTFRANCEFELLOWSHIP