Frank T. Trippi

Frank T. Trippi

Past Awards

George E. Kimball Medal: Awardee(s)

After Frank T. Trippi retired in 1983 from Naval Facilities Engineering Command and as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, he has worked nearly full-time as creator and chair of the INFORMS Public Awareness Committee (PAC). His goal was to share the promise of operations research with junior college, high school and junior high school students, by educating teachers in the use of and the methods for teaching O.R.


To get high school students to continue their mathematical education, and to provide them with challenges that are relevant to their day-to-day lives and interesting enough to keep them involved, Frank created three videos, designed for middle-schoolers, high-school students, and the general adult public. He then worked to ensure that each would be shown on Public Broadcasting Channels throughout the country.


Frank also led the INFORMS PAC effort, to develop teaching materials and hands-on work that brings O.R. directly into the high school classroom. He invited teachers to 21 consecutive ORSA/TIMS and INFORMS meetings to attend workshops on how to apply the materials in class. He coordinated special math seminars and conferences for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), middle and high schools and community colleges. Frank worked with Teaching Associations and the local school systems to have the O.R. workshops count toward teacher in-school instruction time. Many in the audiences (some with over 100 attendees) immediately worked to incorporate O.R. subject matter into their curricula.


In developing and promoting the workshops, Frank took care of everything, including production and distribution of educational materials, publicity, accommodations and meals. Such successful endeavors require an extraordinary amount of legwork, handholding and patience – all of which Frank eagerly provided. Like all other aspects of this multi-year project, Frank was also supremely successful in fund raising, obtaining over $125,000 from outside sources.


Frank has also provided his selfless effort to the profession in other ways. In the mid 1970s, Frank worked with others to merge the independent WORC into ORSA, and guided its merger with the TIMS chapter as the predecessor of the successful WINFORMS (Washington INFORMS) chapter. In 1980 Frank was the tireless publicity chair of the DC ’80 TIMS/ORSA joint national meeting, resulting in a record (up to that date) meeting attendance and dollar surplus. He also was instrumental in creating and installing the Harris-Miser gallery and was the INFORMS representative in the Math Olympiad and to the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.


Few people have devoted more time toward the education of the public in the usefulness and importance of operations research than Frank Trippi, who recognized the critical need for taking operations research to high-school teachers and students.

Award presented by Stephen Pollock, Committee Chair, and Michael H. Rothkopf, President, October 25, 2004.