Robert Eugene D. Woolsey

October 31, 1936 – March 16, 2015

Brief Biography

Woolsey Speakers Program Portrait

Robert Eugene D. Woolsey was the thirty-third president of The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) and second editor-in-chief of Interfaces, the practice-focused publication of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Woolsey received all three of his degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation on integer programming and its application to water resource problems was supervised by Fred W. Glover.

Woolsey held teaching positions at a number of universities across the globe and spent the majority of his career as a professor of mathematics at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). There, he coordinated the management science/operations research specialization track. Before arriving at CSM, Woolsey served as an intelligence officer for the United States Air Force and worked for Control Data Corporation. As an educator, Woolsey encouraged the merging OR practice with academia. Students in his program were required to do a Pro Bono Publico project for a company or agency with the hope of saving said entity money. Students who saved his or her company at least one million dollars within the first year received a diamond stickpin. Woolsey’s program has resulted in over eight hundred and twenty millions dollars of savings.  

In addition to having been the editor of Interfaces, Woolsey was editor emeritus of The Production & Inventory Management Journal, The Journal of Operations Management, The Transactions of The Institute of Industrial Engineers, and the Colorado School of Mines Quarterly of Science and Engineering. He was a prolific author, having written eight books and over hundred papers in production scheduling, assignment, linear programming, operations research, and engineering design using geometric programming. One of his research papers helped in effectively doubling the world’s supply of lithium. As a columnist for OR/MS Today for three decades, Woolsey covered a broad spectrum of subjects relevant to OR practitioners and educators alike.

Woolsey was the inaugural recipient of the Harold Lardner Prize and Fellow of INFORMS. He was additionally presented with the INFORMS Award for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice and the Daniel H. Wagner Prize in 1999 and 2004, respectively.

Woolsey had a distinct sense of humor, describing himself as “a successful, witty, pompous ass” who looked like “the second vice president of a Midwest Kiwanis Club that sings in a barber shop quartet.” He passed away on March 16, 2015. 

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: R. E. D. Woosley. Accessed April 28, 2015. (link

INFORMS Connect with People. Speakers Program: Woolsey, Gene (Colorado School of Mines). Accessed April 28, 2015. (link)


University of Texas at Austin, BA

University of Texas at Austin, MA

University of Texas at Austin, PhD 1969 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Awards and Honors

Harold Larnder Prize 1986

Prize for Teaching of the OR/MS Practice 1999 

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice 2004

Professional Service

The Institute of Management Sciences, President 1986-1987

Selected Publications

Swanson H. S. & Woolsey R. E. D. (1975) Operations Research for Immediate Application: A Quick and Dirty Manual. HarperCollins: New York.

Hesse R. & Woolsey R. E. D. (1980) Applied Management Science: A Quick & Dirty Approach. Science Research Associates: Chicago. 

Greening D., Wall T. W., & Woolsey R. E. D. (1986) OR Practice - Solving Complex Chemical Equilibria Using a Geometric Programming Based Technique. Operations Research, 34(3): 345-355.

Woolsey R. E. D. (2003) Hewitt, R. L., ed. Real World Operations Research: The Woolsey Papers. Lionheart Publishing: Atlanta, GA.