Dorina Kosztin
May 29, 1962 - Jan. 5, 2023

Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor
Associate Chair
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Dorina Kosztin, beloved wife, mother, friend and educator, passed away on January 5, 2023.  She is survived by her mother Maria Bolfa, husband Ioan Kosztin, daughter Timi Kosztin and son-in-law Kyle Verdone. 

Dorina was born in Ocna Mures, Romania, on May 29 1962, to parents Maria and Silvestru Bolfa. After completing her primary and secondary school education in her home town Dej, in 1985 she obtained a BS degree in Physics from Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. In the same year, Dorina married her husband, Ioan.  For 6 years she taught physics for middle school students at General School nr 14, in Oradea, Romania, until she left to join the physics graduate program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned her PhD in 1998.

In 2001 Dr. Kosztin became a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Missouri, where she worked until her untimely passing. She was a beloved colleague who also served for many years as the Associate Chair of the department. She was an admired teacher who impacted the lives of many thousands of students. As one student aptly said, she taught them “how to think like a physicist.”  Her impact and contributions were widely recognized. In 2005 she received the Provost Junior Faculty Teaching Award, which was only the beginning of the more than a dozen teaching awards she has received. In 2008 Prof. Kosztin received the prestigious William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2014 she received the Science Teachers of Missouri Distinguished Service Award, and the UM System President’s Award for Innovative Teaching. Most recently, in 2022, Prof. Kosztin was recognized as Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor, the highest academic rank awarded by the University of Missouri. 

Everything Prof. Kosztin did was with full-bore dedication. While she has contributed to and influenced several initiatives during her 21 years at MU, her impact on four major areas stand out: the changes she instituted in the introductory calculus-based physics sequence (Physics 2750/2760), her impact on online teaching in the physics department and at MU, her service to the physics department as associate chair and to MU’s curriculum committee, and her contributions to teacher education in the state of Missouri as co-PI of four major teaching grants totaling $9 million. Prof. Kosztin’s extraordinary leadership in teaching extended to the many presentations she gave at state and national teaching conferences and workshops as well as coauthoring several textbooks.  

To her family, friends, colleagues and students, Dorina was a beacon of light who always had a positive outlook to provide in any situation. She was an exceptional, supportive mother and wife, and her love and friendship will be missed by all whose lives she touched.

A Memorial Service to celebrate the life and legacy of Dorina Kosztin, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, was held on Friday, February 17, from 4 to 5 pm in the Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union, 518 Hitt Street, Columbia, MO. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations towards a fund in Dorina Kosztin’s memory that will support the endeavors of physics students at the University of Missouri. Donations can be made:

-   Online at

-   By phone: 573-884-7709

-   By check made out to: University of Missouri, with a memo to,
    Physics Development Gifts Fund – Memory of Prof. Dorina Kosztin. 
    Mailing address:  Mizzou Advancement, 407 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65211.