Obituary: Robert J. Cosgrove Jr., former director of computing facilities

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Robert J. Cosgrove Jr.

Bob Cosgrove, who retired in December 2012 after 11 years as SCS director of computing facilities, died suddenly near his home in Naples, Fla., on Oct. 9. He was 62.

Bob first came to Carnegie Mellon in the 1980s as part of the Andrew Project, which created the world’s first wired campus. He later worked in the computer and information technology industry, filling a variety of leadership positions at such companies as Alcoa and NeXT Computer. He was later brought back as a consultant to the School of Computer Science to help improve the operations of the school’s computing facilities.

“We liked him so well that we recruited him to become director of computing facilities,” said Randal E. Bryant, SCS dean.

Among other achievements as director, Bob created a responsive help system, professionalized the operation, reduced needed customization of software and upgraded disk, email and backup systems to keep pace with changing technology and usage patterns.

His leadership was put to the test during the “Great Flood of ’05,” when a sprinkler system pipe burst in the early morning, causing water to rise to just below the raised floor of the machine room. He and the facilities staff worked throughout the day and well past midnight to successfully maintain core services and prevent the loss of any data.

Bob was honored at the SCS Founder’s Day ceremony on January 31, 2013.

A native of Philadelphia, he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Temple University and a masters degree in computer science at the University of Pittsburgh. He is survived by his wife, Liz Hines, and his daughter, Kate Cosgrove, whose recent defense of her Ph.D. was a point of pride for Bob.

A Celebration of Life was held for Bob in Naples on Oct. 14 and a second is scheduled for Thursday in West Chester, Pa. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Bob’s honor be made to the Folds of Honor Foundation, a charity that provides scholarships and other assistance to the families of soldiers killed or disabled in service to the nation:

Folds of Honor Foundation
5800 N. Patriot Drive
Owasso, OK 74055

Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |