The university lost a passionate teacher and valued administrator with the passing of professor Everett Zimmerman on Monday.
Zimmerman died at his home in Santa Barbara, four months after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He was 66.
Over a 34-year career at UCSB, Zimmerman was a professor in the English Dept. and occupied numerous administrative positions, including chair of the English Dept., dean of undergraduate studies and provost.
Zimmerman was a scholar of 18th century British literature and was considered an authority on the works of Jane Austen, Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift. He authored three books: Defoe and the Novel, Swift’s Narrative Satires and The Boundaries of Fiction: History and the Eighteenth-Century British Novel. In 1990, Zimmerman received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.
“Everett embodied the ideals of the university,” Chancellor Henry Yang said in a statement. “His integrity and high standards were exemplary, and his scholarly accomplishments helped enhance the reputation of our campus. He also made important contributions to UCSB’s development through his leadership in a variety of roles over more than three decades, especially as provost.”
Professor of Chemical Engineering Gene Lucas said he asked Zimmerman to join him on the Committee on Educational Policy and Academic Planning both for his knowledge of budgetary matters and the respect he commanded in the campus community.
“He was known as both a very wise person and a very fair person,” Lucas said.
Zimmerman grew up in rural Reamstown, Pennsylvania, where he worked on a family farm. An accomplished trumpet player, he considered a career in music before embracing literature in college. He earned his undergraduate degree at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, and his master’s and doctorate at Temple. He taught for three years at Rutgers before coming to UCSB as an assistant professor of English in 1969.
Zimmerman’s wife, Muriel, is a senior lecturer at UCSB and former director of the writing program. He is also survived by two sons, Andrew and Daniel, and a granddaughter, Lily.
A memorial observance will be held on campus in late October, with the date to be determined later.
“Everett provided support and encouragement to countless career staff in the English Dept., on campus committees and during his tenure as provost,” Christina Nelson, longtime office manager of the English Dept., said. “His legacy will continue through the staff he mentored as well as through colleagues, students and friends.”