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October 15, 2015

Obituary: John C. Slimick

SlimickJohn C. Slimick, former director of Pitt-Bradford’s computer science and information systems programs, died Oct. 1, 2015, after a fall. He was 74.

Slimick joined the UPB faculty in 1983 as an associate professor of computer science and was awarded tenure in 1986. He retired in 2011 with emeritus status and continued as a part-time adjunct faculty member through 2013.

Slimick earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Virginia in 1961 and received his master’s degree in computer science from Stanford in 1969. Following graduate school he worked for several years in Silicon Valley, then was employed at Bell Labs in New Jersey.

He moved on to teaching, initially at Salem College in West Virginia, before joining the UPB faculty in 1983.

During his tenure at UPB, he expanded the computer science curriculum from a two-year program into a four-year degree and taught a variety of computer sciences courses.

He served on UPB’s educational policies committee and was active in the campus’s Faculty Senate, including serving a term as vice president. He was a member of its faculty welfare committee and tenure committee, and represented Pitt-Bradford in the University Senate in Pittsburgh.

Beyond the University, Slimick was former treasurer of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

James Baldwin, vice president of enrollment management at Pitt-Bradford, remembered his friend as a man whose life revolved around service.

“He was proud to serve. He served students as an instructor and as a caring adviser,” Baldwin said. “He served the institution as a member of campus committees and as a representative to University-wide committees. He served his profession as a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the AAUP.”

He served his church and community as a volunteer in the church’s Thursday Soup Lunch and the Second Harvest food drive. “And he was a faithful servant to his wife, Claire,” Baldwin said.

Slimick’s faith was important, Baldwin said. “He was spiritual, not in an outward fashion, but by deeds,” he said, noting that Slimick was instrumental in establishing a weekly nondenominational service at the Wick Chapel on the Pitt-Bradford campus.

“In many ways he was an atypical scholar,” Baldwin said. Slimick’s field was computer science, yet he had an incredible faith, Baldwin said; he studied classics, yet he remained up to date on contemporary issues.

And, at the time of his death, Slimick was nearing completion of a book, a memoir centered on books that had mattered to him over the course of his life, Baldwin said.

UPB Faculty Senate President Don Ulin, a faculty member in English, said that Slimick “was a great lover of the humanities, a great lover of literature,” adding that he often would stop by Ulin’s office to ask which books he was teaching.

“His greatest love of all was Dante,” Ulin said, noting that Slimick once taught a freshman seminar built around the “Divine Comedy.”

Slimick was well versed in campus history “and enjoyed talking about it,” recalled Ulin, UPB Faculty Senate president. He said Slimick was one of the most dedicated advocates for faculty concerns, citing Slimick’s longtime participation on committees — even after his retirement — and as a UPB Senate vice president.

Slimick’s service went beyond all expectations: He regularly would make the seven-hour round trip to attend University Senate meetings on the Pittsburgh campus as UPB’s representative.

“It’s not something that we could expect anyone to do — it required a tremendous commitment,” Ulin acknowledged.


In addition to his wife, Claire Repass Slimick, Slimick is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Wes and Julie Slimick; grandchildren Lauren Slimick and Sean Slimick; and a brother, J.R. Axtell.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Hanley Library at Pitt-Bradford, The Bradford Area Public Library or the Bradford Episcopal Church of the Ascension Food Ministry.

—Kimberly K. Barlow    

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 4

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