February 2013. Nine months ago I entered the graduate program as a student in the Information Technology and Management program at Illinois Institute of Technology.
As a new graduate student whose previous training was in Syria, I had a certain point of view about software development and Java. I hadn’t really been thinking about taking courses related to programming, but one of my required courses in my first semester included a required core course – Object Oriented Programming – with Professor Jeffry Kimont.
Reflecting back upon the Spring 2013 course with Professor Kimont, I can honestly say that his course not only changed my entire way of thinking about software development but Professor Kimont has also taught me lessons about life that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The gifts he gave me, I hope to extend to others in Syria and wherever my professional life takes me.
Before Professor Kimont’s class, Object Oriented Programming represented material that was mostly theoretical. In his class, however, the material was hands-on from the very first lecture and I learned to write object-oriented software in Java before the half course is finished. He taught the class in a way that the learned concepts were introduce again and again during the Semester until you mastered them. The result was that as you completed the course material, you gained terrific experience at a high level In Java and OOP that is useful in industry, research and academic circles.
Mr. Kimont never stopped teaching Programming Courses. He loved what he did. And he kept doing it even in his last stage of his life at the age of 58. I was one of his students in the last two classes he presented his lectures. He continued recording live sessions and never skipped a session in spite of the health situation, a battle with cancer. He even offered and taught a final summer class just about a month before he passed away peacefully Tuesday August 20, 2013.
Mr. Kimont spent more than twenty years teaching Java and Object Oriented Programming in the Information Technology Management Department and in the Computer Science department before that.
Since his course was a Core course, I think that every student enrolled in his course found that their thinking had been fundamentally changed; and that they were also inspired by his commitment to his students, and the university.
He changed my thinking from a typical theoretical approach to programming to also include a practical/professional/problem-solving programmer that can work in industry.
But his message in teaching Programming hasn’t stopped after his death.
His message will remain with each student that took his class including me and they will carry on this message in every code they write through the rest of their careers and moving on the track of exploring more and more in the sea of Software development.
Everyone in the ITM department recognized that Mr. Kimont was a great technical resource; you never wanted to end an interesting technology conversation with him .
Shavi Ulla, one of his recent Teaching Assistants said “Though I have worked with Professor Kimont for only two semesters I really enjoyed going to his classes earlier and speaking about IT companies and JAVA. I was honored to work under him as his teaching assistant with all support that he provided during the term. We will all miss him as a great faculty and a mentor”.
Students and peers alike admired him.
The ITM department is an excellent department because of his efforts in teaching. I am very glad that I had the chance to meet him and learn from him. His message in teaching till the last moment in Java will always be remembered.
May his soul rest in peace.