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UT Knoxville Professor Jesse Poore Passes Away

April 30, 2012

Dr. Jesse H. Poore, professor in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, passed away at his home on April 25. Dr. Poore’s career spanned 40 years in leadership roles at Florida State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and other public and private organizations. He earned a doctorate in information and computer science at Georgia Tech in 1970.

Dr. Poore was known among friends and colleagues as a person of vision, inspired leadership, and collegiality. He was a generous mentor to students and staff, promoting independent thinking and learning, and he instilled individual confidence as he nurtured achievement.

Dr. Poore came to UT Knoxville in 1986 as chair of the department of computer science. During his tenure at the university, he also served as co-director of the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (2000-2005), director of the UT-ORNL Science Alliance (2000-2011), and UT System vice president for information technology and chief information officer (2008-2009). He taught computer science and software engineering courses for more than 25 years and was appointed to the Ericsson-Harlan D. Mills Chair in Software Engineering in 1998.

Dr. Poore’s research program at UT focused on the economical production of high-quality software. His supervision of 26 graduate students’ research was, in his view, his most important work, and their graduation and career success were his greatest source of fulfillment. In 2002, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society recognized Dr. Poore’s work with its highest award in software engineering, the Harlan D. Mills Award, for significant contributions to function-based software development and statistical software testing.

“Dr. Jesse Poore was strongly committed to the University of Tennessee and its mission. He was instrumental in creating the strong research and education alliance between UT and ORNL. As Director of the Science Alliance, Jesse played a major role in recruiting world-class faculty to UT and ORNL. He will be missed by both organizations,” said David Millhorn, UT executive vice president and vice president for research and economic development.

Dr. Poore’s academic service included also information technology leadership roles at other universities. At Florida State University (1970-1981), he was director of the Computing Center and associate professor of mathematics. At the Georgia Institute of Technology (1981-1986), he was assistant to the president for information technology, associate vice president for academic affairs, and professor of information and computer science. While on sabbatical from UT Knoxville, Dr. Poore was a guest senior scientist at the Fraunhofer-Institute for experimental software engineering in Kaiserslautern, Germany (2006).

Dr. Poore held public service positions throughout his career. He was a program manager for the National Science Foundation (1974-1975), a member of the President’s Federal Data Processing Study to assess scientific computing needs at all national laboratories (1978), and executive director of the Committee on Science and Technology in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. (1983). He was vice president for networking at Southeastern Universities Research Association (1984-1989), a member of a National Research Council panel on Statistical Methods in Software Engineering for Defense Systems (2002-2003), and a member of the 2010 Census Program for Evaluations and Experiments with the National Academy of Sciences. He received the Faculty Public Service Award from the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1999.

Dr. Poore also co-founded Software Engineering Technology, Inc., a company that performed research, training, and technology transfer for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and with other agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense, and numerous private companies. The company was acquired by Ericsson in 1998.

Dr. Poore was an esteemed colleague in the university community and a great friend in other circles related to fitness, health, art, food, and creative ventures. He will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his mother Terresita Poore of Campbellsville, Ky; daughter Pamela Poore Brannon and son-in-law Joe Brannon of Tallahassee, Fla.; son David Poore and partner Eva Vermeulen of Amsterdam, Netherlands; grandchildren Lauren Breza of Knoxville; Maggie Breza and David Breza of Tallahassee; brother Dennis Poore and sister-in-law Debbie Poore of Sarasota, Fla.; and sister Judy Poore of Campbellsville, Ky.

Jesse Poore remembered by UT Knoxville

Jesse Poore
Jesse Poore

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