I was saddened to learn yesterday of the death of David Hellums. As an engineering professor, as dean, and as a citizen of the university David served Rice well and for many years. He arrived here in 1960 as an assistant professor and became a pioneer in Rice’s turn to bioengineering, working closely with Michael DeBakey on early attempts to develop an artificial heart. (Click here for the Rice News biography, a record of a remarkable career.)
Although he was a Texas grad Hellums always seemed to me a quintessential Rice guy. He came from a small town north of Abilene, not quite in the panhandle but close, and boy, could you ever tell. He had that deep intelligence and curiosity coupled with a complete lack of pretension that I have found characterizes so many of our faculty and students from this era. He was, that is, not just a good engineer but also a good guy. He was the kind of guy that when a king came to campus, you put him in charge of the visit:
David Hellums, rest in peace.