College Mourns Passing of ME Professor David Zimmerman


Toby Weber

David Zimmerman, a professor in the Cullen College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, passed away Tuesday, April 10, 2012.

Zimmerman earned his doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering, all from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1982, 1984 and 1987, respectively. He then served as a faculty member at the University of Florida before joining the Cullen College in 1993.

A skilled researcher, Zimmerman founded the college’s Dynamic Systems and Controls Laboratory, which has grown to house multiple faculty members. His research work was noted for its unusual depth and breadth – with contributions in both experimental and theoretical/numerical aspects of problems, as well as work on topics ranging from structural dynamics, optimal control, modal analysis, optimization algorithms and signal processing. His career research expenditures totaled approximately $6.5 million and he had over 170 total publications. He was the recipient of the Cullen College’s Excellence in Research Awards at both the junior and senior faculty levels, as well as a University of Houston Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award at the associate professor level.

Zimmerman was also a committed educator. He served as the lead of the mechanical engineering design faculty, ultimately replacing two of the four courses in the design sequence with two new courses. He personally taught eight different courses, six of which were new to the University of Houston.

Widely respected by his colleagues, Zimmerman held many leadership roles in his department, including associate chairman of mechanical engineering from 2000 to 2009 and interim department chair from 2010 to 2011.

Zimmerman’s passing is deeply felt by everyone in the mechanical engineering department and throughout the college, said ME chairman Pradeep Sharma. “Dave was a good friend, colleague and a personal mentor to me and many other members of this department. He will be greatly missed.”

Zimmerman’s family will receive friends on Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Crowder Funeral Home, located at 111 E. Medical Center Blvd. in Webster, Texas.  Funeral services will be held on Sunday at 2:00 at the same location. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the David Zimmerman Memorial Fund, 102 Grey Bridge Row, Cary, NC  27513 to benefit students of mechanical engineering.


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