Friday, January 22, 2016

University Mourns Death of Physics Professor George Ioup

George IoupGeorge Ioup, whose service to the University of New Orleans spanned nearly a half century, died on Jan. 20, 2016 at the age of 76 after a valiant fight with gastric cancer.

Ioup, a university research professor emeritus of physics, was a prolific researcher, a dedicated teacher and an academic innovator. He is survived by his wife and research colleague of 51 years, Juliette Ioup, a fellow professor in UNO’s Department of Physics. Ioup’s unflagging commitment to the University is illustrated by the fact that he retired in 2012 at the age of 73, yet continued to perform all of his teaching, graduate student mentoring and research duties on a gratis appointment.

“He never stopped,” said Steve Johnson, dean of the College of Sciences. “He was remarkable. There was no one like George.”

Ioup earned an undergraduate degree in physics from MIT and a doctorate in physics from the University of Florida. In 1969, he joined the physics department at UNO, marking the beginning of a long and distinguished career that would continue for the rest of his life. During his tenure, he directed dissertation research for doctoral students, thesis research for master’s students and research for non-thesis master’s students. In 1976, he was awarded the Amoco LSU System Distinguished Undergraduate Educator Award. Ioup was also instrumental in developing the Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science, one of the most successful doctoral programs at the University.

“He was basically the main player behind the doctorate in engineering and applied science,” Johnson said. “It took 11 years to get it approved by the Board of Regents and he never gave up. And I think that just tells you something about his motivation and dedication and his passion.”

In 2014, Ioup was awarded the Cooper R. Mackin Medallion for exceptional service to UNO.

Ioup also developed and directed a program at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi that allowed Stennis employees to take UNO graduate courses in physics, engineering, computer science and math. The first contact Kevin Stokes ever had with Ioup was when he was an employee at Stennis and took a course taught by Ioup.

“He really cared about and respected his students,” said Stokes, professor and chair of physics at UNO. “He was really interested in students not just learning the material but in helping them progress in their careers.”

Ioup’s research specialty was signal and image processing, which he applied in areas such as underwater acoustics. He studied how whales could be identified in the Gulf of Mexico from their underwater clicks. In 2000, he co-founded the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center at UNO, which produced high-quality research on the effects of human behavior on the Gulf of Mexico and its animals.

“When he saw something that should be done, and it made sense to him and it was good for the university and the students, he made sure it got done,” Stokes said.

Ioup’s loyalty to the University and his students was unwavering. Despite the fact that he was in failing health, he still attended the fall commencement ceremony on Dec. 18, 2015 because one of his doctoral student was graduating, Johnson said.

“He lived and breathed UNO,” Johnson said.

A wake will be held at Schoen Funeral Home, 3827 Canal Street, on Monday, Jan. 25 from 7-9 p.m. On Tuesday, Jan. 26 there will also be a short wake at 10:30 a.m. at St. Basil Eastern Orthodox Church, 3916 Hudson St. in Metairie, followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. The burial will be in St. Louis Cemetery No. 3, followed by a Mercy Meal at St. Basil. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to St. Basil Eastern Orthodox Church, 3916 Hudson St., Metairie, LA 70006; St. George Eastern Orthodox Church, 519 58th St., Altoona, PA 16602; UNO Physics Department, 2000 Lakeshore Dr., New Orleans, LA 70148or a charity of your choice.