George Mason University bids farewell to Ricci Heishman, a research professor who passed away Sept. 25 due to cancer.

According to an email sent by Sanjeev Setia, chair of the Department of Computer Science, to his students after his death, Heishman spent 20 years in the Navy before spending 10 years at the NOVA campus in Manassas where he was the assistant dean of computer science and information technology. He joined Mason in 2008 after obtaining his Ph.D. in information technology.

Many students at Mason, however, are most familiar with Heishman because he taught CS 112 and CS 211, two classes that are required for computer science majors and others involved in engineering, as well as a computer ethics class.

“Heishman is the only reason I paid attention in that class, and I got an A,” said junior computer science major Connor Payne, who took 112 with Heishman his freshman year.

Many of Heishman’s colleagues also had positive things to say about him. “Ric touched all of us during his all-too-brief stay in our department. We will miss him deeply,” said Setia.

Pearl Wang, associate chair of the Department of Computer Science, described Heishman as very

supportive of his students, and also that he was a role model to many of them. “We have a lot of undergraduate teaching assistants,” Wang said, “and the majority of them have said that the reason they got involved in all this was Dr. Heishman.”

“He was a kind person, very dedicated, organized in a nice way … an organized person who made working with him much easier,” said Zoran Duric, a professor of computer science at Mason. “When he told you that he would do something, it was as good as done.”

Duric was Heishman’s professor while he was a graduate student at Mason, and Heishman was his second Ph.D. student.

“He lived in Clarke County which is close to Front Royal,” Duric said. “He sort of built a house on a mountain, literally.”

“He liked the outdoors,” Duric said, “He grew up in that area.”

According to Duric, after Heishman’s time in the Navy, he got a master’s degree at American University and built a house in Clarke County. “A lot of his life was organized around the house and the place that he lived.”

“It was a great pleasure to work with him; he was a nice and kind person. … We joked that he was a poet at heart. He will be missed,” Duric said.

Students and faculty that wish to pay their last respects to the professor can do so today at Maddox Funeral Home in Front Royal, Va.