Dr. Kevin Novins, a former staff member of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Otago (1995-2001), passed away in January 2011, from complications resulting from treatment for Hodgkin’s disease. He was aged only 47. Later that year his family contacted the Alumni of the University of Otago in America Inc. (AUOA), expressing a wish to make a bequest in his name to the University of Otago.
Kevin grew up in Westchester County, New York, and attended Harvard University, majoring in Computer Science and graduating in 1985. After living in North Carolina for two years, working at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) Hospital on medical imaging and graphics, he attended graduate school at Cornell University, where he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1994. Kevin was on the faculty of two New Zealand universities for ten years; first, at the University of Otago, and next, at the University of Auckland. He specialized in computer graphics, user interfaces, computer vision, and scientific visualization. Kevin returned to the United States in 2006 to work in the financial management industry.
Tributes sent to his family at the time remembered Kevin as one of the best and most popular lecturers in the Computer Science Department at Otago. “He was a wonderful friend and a genuinely good person” recalls Associate Professor Brendan McCane, a close friend and colleague. “It was an honour and a privilege to have crossed paths with someone so humble, inspiring, genuinely sincere and warm, with an amazing intellect and an infectious laugh. There are no words to describe how much we miss him.”
The Novins family’s generous gift in memory of Kevin was awarded by the Board of the AUOA to support the Kevin L. Novins Computer Science Travelling Scholarship for graduate research candidates whose studies may benefit from a period spent in the USA.