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 was a wonderful professor and advisor. He was incredibly patient and encouraged me so much. When I felt like I had hit a wall with research, talking with Dr. Cotton helped me find ideas for moving forward and feel motivated again. I learned so much from him through classes he taught, stories he told, conferences he encouraged or helped me to attend, but most of all through his example of kindness, eagerness to learn, and hard work. I am very grateful to have had him for my advisor.

    – Rebekah Houser, Alumnus

  • Professor Cotton was someone you could always talk to about anything and he would have an interesting story to tell! You can tell by the way he speaks and presents himself, to an individual or a class full of students, that he was a wealth of knowledge and a joy to listen to.

    He helped me grow into a better student and an even better engineer.

    I’ll cherish all the memories we had together, especially our love of fighter jets as zoom backgrounds!

    His energy and compassion is something that will truly be missed.

    – Ahmad Tamimi, Alumnus

  • I was blessed to have Dr. Cotton as lead professor and advisor in my participation in a joint UofD/JPMC Cybersecurity Certification program in 2021. This was during the time of virtual-only classes, so I regretfully never had the opportunity to meet or work with him in person. That said, he always made himself available to our cohort to answer questions and provide encouragement when we sometimes struggled with various concepts through the course series. He was committed to the success of each and every one of the students, not just in our cohort, but also in his interactions with Senior Design and other ECE programs in which he was involved. He often spoke of his family, especially his daughter, during breaks in lecture/office hour sessions. His presence and commitment to helping all whose lives he touched will be sorely missed.

    – Joel Garrett, Alumni

  • I was fortunate to work under Dr. Cotton for my Masters and PhD. He was not only the best guide a student could ask for but also a confidant, counselor and a therapist.
    He cheered for his students on their best days and provided much needed support and encouragement on the days when they were down. I am eternally grateful to him for where I am today and will preserve his advise for all my tomorrows.
    He knew where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do and would meticulously plan and create a road map for the same. He would share his experiences, tell uplifting stories and give his students the best exposures when it came to workshops, conferences and projects.
    He believed in his students and made sure each of us had access to every possible resource for carrying out our respective works.
    His passion for teaching and research was contagious, and I imbibe a lot of his teaching methodologies and strategies in my classroom culture. He will forever be remembered as the professor who spread immense positivity around him and the one who never gave up on his students.

    – Ishaani Priyadarshini, PhD Student Alumni

  • Dr. Cotton was my Cyber Security mentor. I first decided to pursue Cyber Security as a carrier in his Intro to Cyber Security class. I would periodically go to his office to share my ideas for Cyber Security inventions to hear his feedback. He always took the time to help his students better understand Cyber Security.

    As a senior, I wanted to do cryptography research. Dr. Cotton became my Senior Thesis advisor. He mentored me throughout the process of completing my research. Without him, I would not have been able to complete my thesis. I used the lessons he taught me in Graduate School. I still use these lessons today at work and will continue to do so throughout my life.

    When I was looking for work Dr. Cotton took the time to help me gain employment. He helped me decide what career path to pursue and where to work. I have Dr. Cotton to thank for where I am today and where I will be in the future. Ultimately, Dr. Cotton was an amazing mentor and positively touched the lives of many.

    – Nicholas Zahabiun, Alumni

  • Doctor Cotton really inspired me in my final semesters of computer engineering. I would not be the man I am today without him believing in me and empowering me to make something happen.

    – Kevin Lattanzio, Alumni

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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.