INFORMS News: In Memoriam - Paul Gray (1930-2012)

Pioneer in the IT Field

Paul Gray

Paul Gray, professor emeritus at Claremont Graduate University (CGU), died on May 10 from injuries suffered in a car crash. He was 81. He was the founding chair of the School of Information Systems and Technology at Claremont Graduate University, which is also the home of the Paul Gray PC Museum.

Professor Gray’s research focused on information systems, particularly decision support systems, knowledge management, data warehousing and business intelligence. He was the author/editor of 16 books, including “Decision Support in the Data Warehouse” with H.J. Watson and “Manager’s Guide to Making Decisions About Information Systems.”

His most recent book, with David Drew, “What They Didn’t Teach You in Graduate School, 2.0,” is an irreverent, but serious, guide to charting a successful academic career.
Professor Gray also authored more than 160 journal articles and was known for three “first papers”: crime in transportation, telecommuting and group-decision support systems.

A pioneer in the field of information systems, Professor Gray came to CGU in 1983 to establish the university’s programs in Information Science at a time when few other colleges or universities offered programs in the field. Soon thereafter, he helped secure a $2 million grant from IBM to establish a doctoral program, which immediately put CGU at the forefront of the field. The programs eventually blossomed into what is now the School of Information Systems and Technology (SISAT).

Before Claremont Graduate University, he was a professor at Stanford University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California and Southern Methodist University. He was a professor for more than 30 years and served as department chair for 15 of those years. Prior to his academic career, he worked for 18 years in research and development organizations including nine years at SRI International.

He retired in May 2001, but continued to research, consult, teach information systems and executive management courses, supervise executive management doctoral students and curate CGU’s Paul Gray PC Museum, which he inspired.

“He was smart, well-rounded and a bit of a perfectionist,” says longtime friend and CGU Professor Lorne Olfman. “He was a real innovator, and he helped us build one of the best known information systems programs in the country.”

Colleague and Professor Samir Chatterjee also remembered Professor Gray: “He was a giant on whose shoulders we were all standing.”

Addressing the audience at SISAT’s commencement ceremonies on May 12, Dean Tom Horan spoke fittingly about Professor Gray’s legacy: “Every student who graduates here today can trace their success to the wide net of innovation in information systems that was cast by Paul Gray.”

Paul Gray was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1930, and came to New York City in 1938. He earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University (mathematics, 1950), master’s degrees from the University of Michigan (mathematics, 1954) and Purdue University (electrical engineering, 1962) and a Ph.D. from Stanford University (operations research, 1968).

Professor Gray served as secretary of The Institute of Management Sciences  (TIMS) from 1975-79, vice president at large from 1983-1986 and president from 1992-93. He was the founding editor of CAIS, the Communications of the Association for Information Systems, and served as editor in chief from 1999 to 2006. He was on the editorial board of CAIS and eight other journals. He was president of Omega Rho (1988-90) the international operations research honor society. From 2006 through 2011 he served as series editor of the annual TutORials in Operations Research volumes published by INFORMS.

Professor Gray’s honors included fellow of the Association for Information Systems (awarded in 1999) and recipient of the associations’ LEO Award (in 2002) for lifetime achievement. He was also a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science and he received the NATO Systems Science Prize. In 2000, he was named Educator of the Year by EDSIG. In 2002, he was elected Fellow of INFORMS. In 2003, he received the INFORMS Kimball Medal. In 2006, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of SIGMIS.

Professor Gray is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Muriel, his adult daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at Claremont Graduate University on Sept. 8.

Gifts can be made (payable) to the “Paul Gray PC Museum,” Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA 91711.