In memoriam: Chase Cotton

Professor Chase Cotton

Chase Cotton, a knowledgeable and passionate researcher, educator and colleague in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, passed away on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

After a long career in the communications industry, Dr. Cotton, who earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Delaware in 1984, joined the department as a visiting scholar before becoming a senior scientist and later a Professor of Practice.

Throughout his fifteen years at UD, Dr. Cotton was instrumental in expanding the department’s education and training opportunities in the field of cybersecurity. He was also responsible for revitalizing ECE’s senior design program, through which he interacted with more students than anyone else in the department.

Dr. Cotton was known for his unique perspective on research thanks to his industry experience, for always advocating in the best interests of students in the department, and for being a kind and supportive role model to students and faculty alike.

Please keep Dr. Cotton’s family in your thoughts. If you have a memory, message or photograph that you would like to share with the UD community, please do so using the form below.

Services will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2023.

Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home
121 W. Park Place, Newark, DE
Viewing: 10 a.m.
Services: 11 a.m.

  • Dr. Cotton is my PhD advisor. I just graduated last December 2022. We always meet at zoom or using emails. He changed my life and helped me a lot in every aspect. He always taught me, encouraged me and was happy for my every progress. I am so sad he passed away so suddenly. He will be missed a lot. I will forever remember him and his spirit. Keep learning and stay humble, just like what he taught me.

    – Rui Bian, Alumni, Dr Cotton’s PhD student

  • I am so lucky to have had Dr Cotton in my corner during and after my time at UD. He was one of the most prolific minds I had seen in Network Engineering and being from the same space myself, we instantly connected and shared our experiences. I still remember the first conversation I had with Dr Cotton in his office in the ECE department building in Evans Hall. That spawned multiple subsequent conversations about research areas in the industry, career choices, general advice, personal friendship and so much more!

    It’s always nice to know when someone at the university you went to remembers you after your time and cites you to other students making their way through grad school. Dr Cotton was this person and would often talk about me to other students he was advising. This was one of the most gratifying feelings for me ever, to know that I had touched his heart in a way that made him remember me even after my time at UD.

    Dr Cotton was also gracious enough to write me a wonderful and thoughtful note for my wedding. My sister had reached out to him asking him to write a few words about our relationship and his note to me is something I hold dearly and cherish even today.

    I am deeply saddened to hear about Dr Cotton’s passing and I wish his family all the strength to deal with what’s ahead for them. He will be deeply missed and always remembered!

    – Nash S, Alumni

  • Dr.Cotton, Chase or affectionately “Grandpa” was a great friend to me at our time together at Sprint. Later we were able to collaborate on a project where I introduced two other friends to the wisdom and intelligence that was Chase. He was a catalyst in kicking off another path in our careers that continues today. He was a teacher even when he was your boss. If you wanted to learn, he was there with his time and answers. He loved what he did. He loved innovation.

    It was a great privilege to introduce my son to Chase when this picture was taken as he toured UD. Our deepest sympathies to the family from James/Christopher (Virginia), Jerome (Auckland, NZ), Brian (Toronto, Canada). Peace be with you brother.

    – James R., Colleague, Mentee, Friend

  • Dr. Cotton was a kind and engaging professor. There were many instances in the classes I took with him that his patience was surely strained to its limits by repeatedly explaining the same material. His experience and creativity were deeply appreciated by all of his students. His ease and methodical approach to resolving technical challenges with his many lab configurations demonstrated his humility and turned each resolution into a masterclass. I will miss his laughter and unconventional advice. Rest in Peace, Chase, on whatever cloud you find yourself on.

    – Bob Cox, Cybersecurity Certificate Alumni

  • Dr. Chase Cotton was my advisor, and is one of the most influential people in my life. He really liked going deep into problems and was a visionary in his field. Things I have learned from him I still carry to this day. He was always really passionate about both teaching and learning. I remember then even as a professor he would still go and sit in classes he found cool.

    His personality has always stood out to me, as someone who is deeply caring about students, both current and alumnis. A couple of year ago, as alumni, I got a chance to visit his lab. We all went together to Ali Baba on Main Street. It was one of my best experiences in recent memory.

    – Hristo Asenov, Alumni, Dr Cotton’s Student

  • I had Dr. Cotton as a teacher my junior year for intro to cyber security. I learned so much that I made it a point to take every course he taught. He would spend time going over every concept like he was learning it the first time too. Even with his busy schedule, Dr. Cotton would spend ample time talking to students about any school or career questions. He helped me numerous times for courses that he didn’t even teach. I will always remember the impact he made on the students and I. He will be deeply missed.

    – Michael Ribeiro, Student

  • Dr. Cotton was one of the first mentors and a crucial one in my career. If I hadn’t crossed path with him I don’t think I’ll be where I’m professionally today.

    He instilled a thirst for knowledge, humility and passion for technology. His love for coffee – with a tumbler always attached to his bag and his love for scrap – buying things from Ebay to expand his lab will always stay as cherished memory. He will be deeply missed.

    – Kartik Khanna, Mentee/Alumni

  • Chase taught Sarah how to do her first solder, he was one of the first friendly welcoming faces at UD for Sarah, he was one of those professors a student is lucky to get and one that can never be replaced, he was a friend, he was encouraging, supportive, creative, and so much fun to talk with about projects and ideas! We will miss you a lot Chase!! We still had projects to do together! Harry is still talking about his “button” that you had Senior Design make for him!

    – Janet Jensen, Parent

  • Dr. Cotton’s mentoring was a home away from home. He was actively involved in our well being and success. He was fun to hang out with and had numerous stories that he shared on our trips in his Suburban. His experience and humility will never be replaced.

    – Arshiya Khan, PhD Student

  • Dr. Cotton was a my first professor in cybersecurity graduate program. I met him a lot via Zoom in the office hour during the Covid year. He was my aspiration to continue doing cybersecurity program. I continued to take another of his class in Fall 2021. I met him in person a few times and he was a very kind and nice person. I am so shocked to see this. He will be missed.

    – Long Men, student

Do you have a memory or message you’d like to share?

Memory Share
Title, Student, Alumni, etc.

Maximum file size: 1MB

Submitting this form is permission for the College of Engineering to edit and use the message and photo you have submitted.


For any student in need of support or assistance, the Division of Student Life provides a variety of resources. Students can connect with the Center for Counseling and Student Development at 302-831-2141. The UD Helpline is available at 302-831-1001 at any time, night or day, for students feeling anxious, overwhelmed, depressed or otherwise in need of counseling.

Additionally, TimelyCare is a virtual health and well-being platform available 24/7, 365 days a year, for University of Delaware students. Staff members in the Office of the Dean of Students are available to assist any student who wishes to talk. Call 302-831-8939 to schedule an appointment.

Mental health support for UD-benefited employees is provided from ComPsych® GuidanceResources®. The link gives steps on how to access services or call 1-877-527-4742 for support.