Remembrance: William Tepfenhart

Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering, 1956–2019.

Dr. Tepfenhart captivated students and colleagues with his wild imagination, wry sense of humor, and dazzling intellect during his 20 years at the University.

I knew him through my graduate studies— specifically from his course MIS-517: Database Design and Management. I had enrolled in the MS in Information Systems program after earning a bachelor’s in English, and I was struggling. It got to the point where it was difficult for me to catch up with the other students and truly understand the concepts we were learning. Then I took Dr. Tepfenhart’s class. He took me aside and said, “You’re strong at this; I want you to use your English skills too.” He never tried to stifle my English skills, or overwrite them with coding and technology skills. He taught me that I could complement my two realms of study in harmony, not in strife.

Every student I know who was lucky enough to have Dr. Tepfenhart has a similar story. He challenged us intensely and rewarded us greatly. We are grateful to have benefited from his utter genius and immeasurable humility, and to have shared our seemingly outrageous ideas, worked on head-scratching tech projects, and discussed life-changing decisions with him.