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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Retired Geophysics Professor Declan De Paor Dies

By Phil Walzer

Declan De Paor, a retired professor of geophysics and former director of Old Dominion University's Pretlow Planetarium, died last week.

DePaor specialized in areas including digital mapping and structural geology. He taught at Old Dominion from May 2008 until his retirement in January 2017.

"Befitting his wide-ranging interests, Declan held joint appointments in the Departments of Physics and Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences," Old Dominion President John R. Broderick said. "He was a model professor, passionate about both research and teaching, and he embraced innovation, using Google Glass in the classroom in its early years."

De Paor was married to Carol Simpson, who served as provost at Old Dominion from 2008 to 2015. She retired as a professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences in 2017.

On his home page, he wrote that the role of a professor at a research institution is "teaching students how to do research and researching how to teach students."

His ultimate goal was to infect his students with his enthusiasm. "If you develop a passion for a subject," De Paor said, "learning becomes effortless - or at least the effort becomes invigorating, like running a marathon (which I have done 16 times!)."

He received a $2 million National Science Foundation grant to develop virtual Google Earth expeditions for students. He won Old Dominion's 2014 Teaching with Technology Award. His books included "Structural Geology and Personal Computers."

De Paor also received a patent for a mechanical device to draw ellipses.