Robert R. Kessler

January 21, 1953 - July 8, 2021
Robert R. Kessler

Patient, intelligent, determined, dedicated, reliable, fun, modest, memorable... these are merely a few words that describe Bob. He was passionate about his lifelong career at the University of Utah as a Professor in Computer Science.  He was a Ute all the way, having earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. at the U in 1974, 1977, and 1981, respectively.  Bob served in the Computer Science Department (including a term as Department Chair). He was a proud co-founder and Director of the Entertainment, Arts and Engineering (EAE) program, which under his leadership became one of the top ranked video game design/education programs in the world. Bob mentored countless students, staff, and faculty. Bob was an award-winning teacher, having received the University of Utah Distinguished Teaching award, and in 2019 Bob received the IEEE Computer Society Undergraduate Teaching Award. Nothing pleased him more than providing guidance and support to everyone and anyone, and as such always made himself available. Graduation day brought him joy every year, even during the pandemic, when he was the mastermind of a collaborative online game developed with the help of his students so that they could virtually graduate together and celebrate as a group. Bob also authored many publications, and two textbooks. His hard work was acknowledged publicly as he was interviewed on the local TV about EAE’s accomplishments.

Bob loved and wanted the absolute best for his family and never stopped helping his children pursue their passions. Movie nights and Disney trips with the family never went out of style. He loved to tell the kids funny stories every night and going on business trips never stopped him as he made sure to phone them to keep up the tradition. Bob was a lover of travel and was fortunate to be able to see many beautiful places in the world. He and his wife Julie especially loved going on cruises, and their blogs developed a following. Bob was an avid reader equally of non-fiction and fiction (especially science fiction). He also loved attending lectures on all topics. Bob had a lot of talents, was full of dad jokes, and had been virtually unbeatable in trivial pursuit. He was an accomplished golfer, and became skilled in anything he took an interest in. Most recently, during the pandemic, he mastered bread-making and the wood smoker. Bob will be forever missed and never forgotten. Survived by his wife and best friend Julie, children: Alex (Brenda) and Chelsea (Michaela), brother Jimmy (Traci), sister Patty (Pete), and many close friends and family members that he loved dearly.

If you would like to honor Bob, please consider a donation to the Kessler Family Scholarship Fund at the University of Utah, which aids the success of undergraduate students in the EAE video game design program:

The link goes directly to the giving page for EAE and your gift can be placed in memory of Bob. In the special instructions box, you can specify that your donation is for The Kessler Family Scholarship Fund.