Robert A. Gross - A Celebration of Life

Apr 27 2018

Faculty, students, alumni, family, and friends gathered on April 27, 2018 for the Robert A. Gross Celebration of Life. The event, co-hosted by the APAM Department and the SEAS Dean’s Office, took place in St. Paul’s Chapel and featured talks by colleagues, alumni, and family members of Dean Gross. A reception followed in the APAM Department.

Mary Boyce, the current Dean of SEAS, the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor, and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering, began the event with a warm welcome and introduction. Gerald Navratil, the Thomas Alva Edison Professor of Applied Physics, a former Chair of the APAM Department, and a former interim SEAS Dean, who had worked with Dean Gross since 1977, spoke about Dean Gross’s contributions to the development of the APAM Department. Zvi Galil, the current Dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, who is also a SEAS Dean Emeritus, the Julian Clarence Levi Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Methods and Computer Science, and a former Chair of the Computer Science Department at Columbia University, reflected upon Dean Gross’s contributions to SEAS, including the construction of the CEPSR Building. Dale Meade, the former Deputy Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the former Head of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor Program, along with APAM Alum, Stewart Prager, (Ph.D. ‘75), a Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University and the former Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, both reflected on Dean Gross’s global impact on fusion energy research.

Two of Dean Gross’ doctoral students, Don Spero (Ph.D. ‘68), the co-founder and General Partner of New Markets Venture Partners, and Jay Kesner (Ph.D. ‘70), a Senior Scientist at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at M.I.T., provided fond remembrances of their mentor. Life-long colleague and friend, C.K. “John” Chu, the Fu Foundation Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics, a former APAM Department Chair, and co-founder of the Plasma Physics Lab, shared professional and personal recollections.

The service concluded with reflections from Dean Gross’ sons, David A. Gross and John-Henry Gross, followed by a rousing arrangement of “Roar, Lion, Roar” played by a string quartet.

Robert A. Gross Tribute Page

Photos by Barbara Alper