In Memoriam: Professor William Aiello

It is with deep sadness that we share the news that our dear friend and colleague, Bill Aiello, passed away peacefully the morning of October 1, 2019.  Bill spent his last days in the palliative care unit of Vancouver General Hospital, and because of the unit’s unique configuration, he was able to spend quality time there with his family, which was a great comfort to him and them.

Bill and his family came to Vancouver from New Jersey in December 2004. Arriving from his position as research scientist at AT&T Labs, Bill became head of the Department of Computer Science, a position he held for five years. Since 2014, Bill has been the Academic Director of the UBC Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP), a role he relished as it allowed him to help incoming academic leaders at UBC develop confidence and expertise in their new roles. 

Loved and respected for his advice, kindness, ideas, wisdom and humour, all of which were given freely to students, colleagues, and academic leaders alike, Bill made a difference. He was happiest when he was encouraging others and finding new ways to make things better. UBC is a better place thanks to him. 

We have been so fortunate to have worked and studied with Bill, to have learned from him, and to have experienced his kindness. He will be deeply missed by his wife Karen and his children, Juliana and Sam, who are in first year at UBC this year – and by all of us. 

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held in the next few months and details will follow. In the meantime, if you would like to write a note to Karen or the family, we ask that you send it to Fran Watters at fran.watters@ubc.ca.  Fran will collect the notes and forward them to Karen,  thus allowing her to better keep track of them and giving the family some space at this time.

Bill strongly believed in the power of community and in the good that can arise when people work together for a common purpose. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name can be made to any charitable organization of the giver’s choice.

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