Founding chair of computer and information sciences department remembered as talented teacher and researcher

David E. Lamb, former University of Delaware professor of chemical engineering, director of UD’s Computing Center and founding chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, passed away on March 7, 2019. He was 86 years old.

Dr. Lamb began his 36-year career at the University of Delaware as an assistant professor of chemical engineering. He authored 20 publications in chemical engineering and traveled the world to present his papers and reviews. He was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, the Simulation Council and the American Automatic Control Council. He also was the United States representative to the International Federation for Automatic Control: Committee Subcommittee on Continuous Systems.

Dr. Lamb became an expert in computer science at the dawn of the computer era and was appointed director of the Computing Center of the University of Delaware. In 1964, he founded the University of Delaware’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences, one of the first undergraduate computer programs in the country. He chaired the department for 10 years.

Known for his talent as a teacher, Dr. Lamb was awarded the University of Delaware Excellence in Teaching Award in 1964. He developed both undergraduate and graduate courses, and he continued to teach as a computer science professor until his retirement in 1996.

The state of Delaware passed a resolution offering its condolences to Dr. Lamb’s family on May 25, 2019. State Representative Paul Baumbach, who studied under Dr. Lamb at the University of Delaware, sponsored the resolution, which reads:

“Dr. Lamb truly cherished spending time with his loving family. This beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend will be dearly missed. The House of Representatives offers its respectful condolences.”

The resolution also notes Dr. Lamb’s appreciation of the arts, especially classical music, dance and opera.

Tuncay Saydam, former professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, recalls visiting galleries in Wilmington and Philadelphia with his colleague and close friend, saying, “David was a good scientist and a great man who has lived a science- and art-filled rich life, in his own way, on his own terms. May heavens bless his kind soul.”

David Lamb was born in Skellytown, Texas, and attended Pampa High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Yale University and went on to earn his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University.

He is survived by his wife Suzanne Stewart Lamb of Wilmington, Delaware, his five daughters: Leah Pugh (James) of West Grove, Pennsylvania, Marjorie Ruggles (Lyle) of Landenberg, Pennsylvania, Caroline Pugh (Peter) of Melrose, New York, Kathryn Kelly (Andrew) of Landenberg, Pennsylvania and Andrea Marcozzi (Michael) of Las Vegas, Nevada, and his eight grandchildren, Alexandra Quig, Emily Quig, Victoria Quig, Alexander Burns, Robert Burns, Jessica Burns, Dante Marcozzi and Alexander Marcozzi. He was preceded in death by his brother James Lamb and his parents, Ernest Melvin Lamb and Leah Miriam Caldwell Lamb.