Computer Science faculty member Stinson remembered


 Notes stick on the wall Oct. 18 outside Pearce Hall 441. 

Central Michigan University's computer science department is remembering faculty member Michael Stinson by having students and friends sign a poster outside his office.

Stinson, 70, who taught in the department of computer science at CMU for 30 years, died Oct. 15 at his home in Mount Pleasant. According to his obituary, he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1971 from CMU. He received his Master of Science in probability and statistics and Master of Arts in mathematics from Michigan State University, and earned his doctoral degree in computer science in 1988 from Louisiana State University. 

Computer Science Department Chair Patrick Kinnicutt said he saw Stinson at a faculty meeting last Friday. Kinnicutt said Stinson appeared to be struggling with a cold, but was still his happy self.

Stinson was described by faculty members and students as a loving and funny professor who really cared about his students' success. Stinson was the faculty adviser for the Association of Information Technology Professionals. When the registered student organization first started, he purchased pizza and materials they needed to be an RSO.

“He was a huge motivation to me. He made me feel more welcomed than anyone," said current president of AITP and Mount Pleasant junior Ken Hall.

Computer science department secretary Julie Bloom said, “Mike will always hold a special place in my heart and memories. He was a very caring person and had a great rapport not only from his colleagues, but his students as well.”

For the entire 30 years Stinson taught, he was very involved with students. He always helped them out by taking them on field trips and helping them travel to conferences, computer science faculty member Jayaram Murthy said. His office was known around the department for being a place where students went to hang out, do homework and create.

“He was always the life of the party, he was always cracking jokes and making students smile," Murthy said. "Students were his life. He would help them in any way he could, even by contacting people in the field and helping students get jobs.”

Kinnicutt remembers a trip with Stinson to the Southern Illinois University Cybersecurity Day Workshop. They drove down together, and Stinson wanted to stop and see a Civil War battlefield. The two ended up in a random field, but Kinnicutt remembers Stinson making the most of it, laughing and joking around. 

Stinson was teaching two classes in the department, CPS 240 and CPS 282. CMU is hiring a fixed-term professor for the spring semester, Bloom said. The Computer Science office has opened its doors as a place for student to grieve, and has been sending students to the Counseling Center on campus.

The poster hanging up outside of Stinson’s office was given to his wife Julie on Saturday, Oct. 20.  

Murthy was Stinson's good friend and neighbor. “I’m going to miss him” Murthy said. “I remember the last thing we discussed Friday was our retirement, and where we would go and what we would do. What happened Monday night was not in the plan.”