In memoriam: Remembering Igor Ivkovic (1977 – 2020)

It is with great sadness that we share that Professor Igor Ivkovic has passed away last Friday, November 27th, after a peaceful morning with his wife, Shabnam. The cause of death has not been made known.

Professor Igor Ivkovic, known to students as Igor, was a lecturer and the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies in the Systems Design Engineering department.

Igor graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics in 2001. He continued his studies at Waterloo and went on to complete a Master’s in Computer Science and a Doctorate in Systems Design Engineering. He began to teach at the University of Waterloo in 2015.

There are many professors who claim their highest priority is their students’ health, happiness, and education, and exceedingly few for whom this can be genuinely said to be true. Igor did not see teaching as a job or a frivolous distraction from research. He dedicated his life to helping students succeed, and his efforts were held in sincere gratitude by the student body. 

During his five years as a professor, Igor taught 16 courses across four different faculties. There isn’t one student in the SYDE/BME department who couldn’t tell you an anecdote about Igor and his love for teaching. He made practice worksheets and Kahoots to get students to revise. He held office hours late into the night — he never turned a student away. He’d come to campus on weekends to give extra help before exams. After a poorly-done test or midterm he’d surprise the class with Timbits. He organized Design Dayz to introduce first-years to engineering and hosted end-of-term parties for the students and staff. If it was possible to win the Engineering Society Teaching Excellence Award every year, he’d have won it every year. He saved every kind email and treasured every compliment from his students. You could ask him for help with anything — related to coursework or not — and he would do his very best to help you out. 

There’s an oft-quoted line from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s saga which seems apt: “The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead.” Igor was a kind, caring, and devoted individual whose life was dedicated to helping others learn. It is up to us to carry on his legacy and devote ourselves to our passions as he did. 

Igor will be sincerely missed by his students and fellow faculty at Waterloo. We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and to those who are grieving.

A private funeral will be held on December 8, 2020. If you wish to make a memorial donation, to send flowers for the funeral, or to send flowers to the family of the deceased, the information can be found in the obituary.

An informal memorial to Igor has been created outside the main entrance of E5/E7.

If you feel overwhelmed and in need of support, the following services are available to help you process grief and loss:

Counselling Services (including ENG Counselling) – 519-888-4567 ext. 32655

Currently providing services via phone and video.

Hours: Monday 8:30AM – 7:30PM, Tuesday-Friday 8:30AM – 4:30PM.

EmpowerMe, Student Assistance Program (24/7/365 support for UG and Grad students): 1-844-741-6389

MATES Peer Supportmates@wusa.ca

Good2Talk (confidential help line for post-secondary students): 1-866-925-5454

Here24/7 (Waterloo Region Mental Health and Crisis Services Team): 1-844-437-3247

Bereavement Ontario Network

Grieving Together Canada

Crisis Services Canada

Leave a Reply