In memory: Robert France

FranceRobert Bertrand France passed away on Feb. 15. He was the eldest son of Jeannette and Robert W. France. Robert B. was born on Oct. 8, 1960, in Jamaica. It was on that day that the world was blessed with one of the most talented and extraordinary computer scientists.

Robert went to high school in Guyana and received his B.Sc. in Natural Sciences with first-class honors from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. He attended Massey University in New Zealand under a Commonwealth Scholarship, where he graduated with a Ph.D. in computer science. He then married Sheriffa R. Soleyn in St. Vincent in 1990. They immigrated to the United States and eventually settled in Fort Collins.

Dr. France was a full professor in the Department of Computer Science at Colorado State University. His research on model-driven software development focused on providing software developers with mathematically based software modeling languages and supporting analysis tools that they can use to specify and analyze critical software properties (e.g., behavioral and security properties). Dr. France was founding editor-in-chief of the Springer journal Software and Systems Modeling, and a founding steering committee member of the international conference series on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems (MODELS).

In 2008 he and his co-authors (Andy Evans, Kevin Lano, Bernard Runpe) were awarded the MODELS 2008 Ten Year Most Influential Paper Award for the paper The UML as a Formal Modeling Notation. In 2013 he was awarded a 5-year International Chair at INRIA, the French National Institute for research in Computational Sciences. Dr. France was awarded a 2014 Senior Dahl-Nygaard Award for his research contributions by AITO, the group that organizes the European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming. He was also awarded a Colorado State University, College of Natural Sciences Professor Laureate in 2014. In addition, the Institute of Caribbean Studies honored Dr. France with the prestigious Excellence in Science and Technology Award for 2014.

He is survived by his wife, Sheriffa, son Richard, daughter Jeanelle, his grandmother, his parents, his sisters and brothers, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A celebration of life will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 27, in the University Club and Cherokee Park Room at Colorado State University.

 In lieu of flowers, the family wishes to have donations made to the Robert B. France Fellowship in Computer Science.