NIU remembers Cliff Mirman

Cliff Mirman, chair of the Department of Technology in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, died Tuesday, Jan. 16, after suffering a heart attack. He was 55.

Mirman was a graduate of the University of Rochester (B.S. ’83) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (M.S. ’87, Ph.D. ’90). He worked briefly at Motorola and taught at Wilkes University before joining the NIU faculty in 1999.

Mirman led the Department of Technology as chair for 17 years. He was an active researcher with a number of publications and research projects in such fields as energy efficiency, micromachining, engineering failure analysis and engineering education.

Mirman was well-liked as an instructor, and students and alumni took to social media by the dozens in the days after his passing to express their grief.

“[He was] never easy on me and certainly never let me take the easy way out of things, but [he] knew that’s exactly what I needed to learn perseverance and tenacity to be successful,” one student wrote on Facebook. “I will take that message with me the rest of my career.”

In 2011, NIU awarded Mirman the Presidential Engagement Professorship in recognition of his excellence in outreach and engagement with student projects. He was known for his commitment to making sure students were prepared for the working world upon graduating from the program.

“Keeping a department of engineering modern and cutting-edge is not easy,” College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Dean Donald Peterson said. “Cliff’s ability to be personal with folks and make them feel comfortable was a tremendous benefit to that department.”

Mirman is survived by two sons, Ryan and Blake.

A celebration of Cliff Mirman’s life will take place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, in Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the NIU Music Building. A webcast will be available for those who can’t attend. A scholarship for NIU Technology students is being established to honor his memory.  For more information about the scholarship fund, contact Todd Burns at tburns@niu.edu or 815-753-1910.

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