The Gevirtzes, Paul Orfalea, and Jules Zimmer in 2000

Don and Marilyn Gevirtz, Paul Orfalea, and Jules Zimmer upon the naming of the school after the Gevirtzes in 2000

UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School laments the passing of Jules Zimmer, Dean of the School from 1993-2004. Dr. Zimmer passed on April 9, 2022 at the age of 91. Zimmer was a professor in UCSB’s Department of Education from 1970 until 2004. As dean, Zimmer shepherded the growth in reputation of the School, including the naming of the School after a generous gift from Ambassador Don L. and Mrs. Marilyn E. Gevirtz in 2000.

In 2020 an anonymous gift from a technology company headquartered in Santa Barbara, made in Zimmer’s honor, established the Jules Zimmer Dean’s Chair at the Gevirtz School. Jeffrey Milem, current dean of GGSE, is the inaugural holder of the administrative chair.

When the chair was established Dean Milem said, “The chair represents our shared values of academic excellence, friendship, generosity, vision and a commitment to the future—all values Jules Zimmer himself embodies.” Upon Zimmer’s passing Milem reflected, “Both the School and I hope to honor Jules Zimmer by sustaining a drive for trenchant research that informs powerful public policy in both education and applied psychology. And we hope to do it with the essential care and humanity that everyone who knew Jules revered him for.”

Zimmer served as the GGSE’s acting dean in 1993, then as dean from 1994-2004. Among his many accomplishments in that time was overseeing the planning process for the school’s new building. It was Zimmer’s vision that led to the building’s defined entrance and proper sitting areas on every floor inside, as well as landscaped spaces outside. With funds raised by the Dean’s Ambassador Circle, the outdoor spaces were eventually named the Jules and Laurie Zimmer Learning Garden. Zimmer was also a force for making sure the building opened with state-of-the-art computing facilities and classroom technologies.

Zimmer had a 34-year career at UCSB. He began in counseling psychology, but as his interests grew in the field of early childhood development he took a year off to study with famed psychologist Jean Piaget in Switzerland and returned to become program leader for Early Childhood Education. His first group of students helped transform the campus childcare center into one of the best of its kind.

Zimmer had a BA from New York University and an Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University.

A memorial service will be held Friday, May 13, 2 p.m., at the Unitarian Society. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Environmental Defense Center, Community Environmental Council, and Los Padres ForestWatch.