Gerald Lieberman

TIMS President, 1980-81


Jerry Lieberman, the 27th President of TIMS, joined the Stanford University faculty with a joint appointment in the Departments of Industrial Engineering and Statistics in 1953, rising to the rank of Professor in six years.

 When Stanford initiated an interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in Operations Research in 1962, Jerry was appointed as its chair. He then continued as the chair of the new Department of Operations Research from 1967 to 1975. This became a golden era for OR at Stanford under his leadership, bringing in an outstanding faculty (including, e.g., George Dantzig) and graduating many future leaders of the profession. He and Fred Hillier also developed a path-breaking textbook, Introduction to Operations Research, that introduced several hundreds of thousands of students around the world to OR since its publication in 1967 and continues to do so to the present day.

Another of his books (with Albert Bowker) was “Engineering Statistics,” which became a widely used textbook for many, many years after its publication in 1959. His research included areas of both statistics and stochastic operations research. His extensive research in the area of sampling inspection led to being awarded the Shewhart Medal of the American Society for Quality Control in 1972. He also was a particularly productive researcher in the area of reliability theory.

After stepping down as the chair of the Department of Operations Research in 1975, Jerry went on to become one of Stanford’s most preeminent university citizens in recent decades. He served in a series of senior leadership positions as a dean, chair of the Faculty Senate, and as provost under three different Stanford presidents.

Despite these heavy duties, Jerry never lost touch with the O.R. Department or the profession. He continued an active research program while serving on the editorial boards of three journals and as a member of numerous advisory panels. At various times, he served as a national officer of four different professional societies, including as president of TIMS. One of his special contributions as TIMS president was greatly increasing the international outreach of the society. In 1996, he was awarded the Kimball Medal by INFORMS for his exceptional service to the profession.

Then tragedy struck during the 1990’s when Jerry developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This terrible disease took his life at the age of 73 on May 18, 1999. For his numerous friends and admirers, this remarkable man and gifted leader will always be fondly remembered for his warmth, generosity of spirit, and affection for family and friends.

BME, 1948, Cooper Union; MS (Statistics), Columbia, PhD (Statistics), 1953, Columbia

Gerald Lieberman 's Awards