It is with our deepest sorrow that the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE) informs its membership about the death of Dr. Lauro Ribas Zimmer, on January 6, 2016, in Florianopolis, Brazil, at the age of 70 years.
Dr. Zimmer served as the second President of the IOHE and the first one from a Latin American country, during the period 1989-1993. He also held the honorary Presidency from 1997.
At a key moment in the history of our Organization, Dr. Zimmer knew how to courageously, ensure the transition that followed the Presidency of our founder, Gilles Boulet, with whom he shared his values and ideals. During his mandate, the IOHE grew and strengthened its activities, particularly in the field of University management, developed fruitful partnerships, at the time that supported the scientific and technological cooperation as well as various Latin American centres of excellence; he also participated actively in national and continental discussions about higher education.
Graduated from Law at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Dr. Zimmer left his legacy in the education sector, where he became a reference and a high authority; he was the author of the first recommendation relative to the distance education, made when he was part of the Brazilian National Council of education.
Throughout his career, he held the Presidency of Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (1979-1990) and the Universidade Estácio de Sá, Rio de Janeiro (1991-1997). In Brasilia, he was General Secretary of the National Council of Education (1974-1976), Deputy Director of the Department of University Affairs of the Ministry of education (1976-1979) and President of the Conselho de Reitores das universities Brasileiras – CRUB (1986-1987), where he was Vice President on two occasions.
In October 2005, in the framework of the 14th biennial Conference of IOHE, which took place in Florianopolis, Dr. Zimmer received the prestigious Inter-America Award, in recognition of his contribution to the development of the IOHE. This was one of the many awards that became a creditor along relevant career, such as Professor Honoris cause from the Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, the University Medal of the Universidade Federal da Paraíba and the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, as well as the Medal of merit of the national education, as a Grand Officer.
On the other hand, for the Dr. Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, a fellow Honorary President of the IOHE, “Lauro Zimmer was a great man in every sense of the word. He always believed in the University, as an incubator for hopes and utopias. Human, ethical and academic qualities made the great Quixote of dreams and values of the American continent. His leadership touched thousands’ most sensitive fibers; we will remember his intelligence, his passion and his capacity of persuasion in his conversations and speeches”.
Sincere condolences to his family and loved ones!
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
6 of January 2016