Arie Lewin

He was passionate about management science research that was informed by and in return informed management practice.
My memories of Bill begin with my first semester at Carnegie Tech as a first year PhD student. I recall an encounter in the “coffee and cookies” lobby with Bill who expounded the GSIA PhD training philosophy that did not require students to take courses as long as they could pass the PhD qualifying examinations. But he did recommend that I take Managerial Accounting course that he requested to teach in the Fall semester. My recollection is that the invitation was more like a command to take his section. Well, I did enroll in Bill’s section. It turned out that Bill volunteered to teach Managerial Accounting because he wanted to show case Yuji Ijiri’s dissertation that Bill was convinced was destined to revolutionize accounting. By the 3rd class session I was totally discouraged. I could not follow the lectures, and any relationships between the lectures, linear programming formulations that bill scribbled on the board and the assigned traditional accounting text seemed totally accidental. I was convinced that I would fail the course and my PhD studies at GSIA would be cut short. My wife however suggested that switch to Neil Churchill’s section. Which I did, and 3 years later graduated from GSIA. However, I recall being petrified of having anything to do with Bill and I deliberately avoided possible encounters with him.

For some reason, however, Bill apparently thought very highly of me and when he became the founding Dean of SUPA invited me several times to visit Carnegie Tech and stay with him and Ruthie at their home. Thus began a lifelong mutual relationship. Bill and Ruth came to Israel for XX TIMS International Meeting, June 1973, Tel Aviv Israel, for which I was the Program Chair. My wife Anita and I served as tour guides for Bill and Ruth and for Dick and Margaret Cyert. Bill and Ruth simply fell in love with Israel and always recounted their time in Israel whenever we got together. In 1979 I was the general chairman for XXIV TIMS International Meeting in Hawaii. At the conference I invited Bill and Abe Charnes to present one of the three plenary lectures. The lecture was an early draft of the 1981 seminal DEA paper that I accepted as Departmental Editor for publication in Management Science. We all know how important this paper was for the subsequent evolution of the DEA methodology but from watching the body language of the audience of over 400 people I got that sinking feeling that the import of the DEA concept went by the wayside.
For me Bill was a role model. He had an unshakeable and deep commitment to scholarship, academic freedom of inquiry and high ethics. He was passionate about management science research that was informed by and in return informed management practice. In reflecting on my own academic career and scholarship I realize that Bill’s ideals have served to shape and guide my own interdisciplinary path and service to the community of Management Science broadly defined.

Arie Lewin, USA
August 2012