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Remembering Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman, Director of the UT-Portugal International School on Digital Transformation and long-time faculty member at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, died Tuesday, December 14.  He was kayaking in Guatemala with friends when he suffered a massive heart attack.


At a memorial service for him on January 8 in Austin, several of his good friends and long time colleagues shared their memories of Gary’s passion, his engagement with students and friends, and his commitment to social justice.  From his early years in the military through his time working with Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and then teaching his classes at UT and elsewhere, Gary was a constant advocate for using new digital tools to improve society, and particularly for helping people whose voices often go unheard.  The service celebrated his integrity, honesty, and passion for cultivating a better and more humane world. Chapman was a Senior Lecturer at the LBJ School, Associate Director of the Telecommunications and Information Policy Institute at UT Austin and an internationally recognized expert on Internet policy, telecommunications and technology policy. His role with the UT Austin|Portugal program included the founding of the International School on Digital Transformation, an intensive summer program on the democratic transformation of society through digital media, and teaching a class on Internet policy.  Gary and his wife Carol made several lasting friendships during the course of their work in Portugal.

“Gary was a natural leader and a quiet, persuasive visionary - a model of the power of humility and one of the warmest, most giving instructors and a wonderful research partner,” said CoLab Digital Media Director Sharon Strover. “Saying he will be missed doesn’t begin to express the ache and loss. He was instrumental in our summer Institute for Digital Transformation, reaching many, many teachers, scholars, activists from around the world, and inspiring all of us to use new tools to improve society and create a just and more democratic world.”