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Passing of Rick Rosenthal

Update Jan 10. A webcast celebrating Rick’s life will be available live starting at 1:30PM PT on January 10.

This is a post I had hoped to not make. Rick Rosenthal of the Naval Postgraduate School has passed away following a long, courageous, and inspiring fight with cancer. In my list of those I admire and hope to emulate in this field, Rick was right at the top. As a researcher, he represented everything I admire: insight, brilliance, and real wish to affect practice. As a person, he was honorable, thoughtful, funny, and inspiring. The field of OR is lessened by his passing. I consider my life to have been greatly enrichened by knowing him and I am thankful I knew him well enough to consider him a friend. My thoughts are with Pascale and the rest of Rick’s family.

Here is the message from the head of OR, James Eagle, at the Naval Postgraduate School (thanks to Jerry Brown for sending it on to me):

Distinguished Professor Richard E. Rosenthal died at approximately 1 pm, Thursday, 3 January 2008 at the Hospice of the Central Coast, Monterey, CA, after a courageous bout with cancer. He was with family and friends at the end. A private memorial service is planned for Sunday, 6 January. Prof. Rosenthal was born in 1950 in Nassau County, NY. He graduated from John Hopkins University in Mathematics in 1972 and from Georgia Institute of Technology in Operations Research (OR) in 1975. From 1975 to 1983 he was an assistant and associate professor of Management Science at the University of Tennessee. In 1984 he came the OR Department at NPS as a National Academy of Sciences Senior Research Fellow. He stayed at NPS as an associate, full, and distinguished professor. He was Operations Research department chairman during 1997-2000. He has authored or co-authored over 20 professional papers in the OR literature. His numerous awards include the International Federation of Operations Research Societies Distinguished Lectureship, the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Prize for Teaching OR/MS Practice. The Military Operations Research Society has recently established the Rosenthal Student Military Modeling Award to recognize outstanding student military operations research. A public memorial service will be scheduled at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Rick has requested the following:

In lieu of flowers, please:

1- Take time off from your responsibilities to enjoy a great meal with good friends and family who you do not see often enough,

2- Give some time or money to a charity that brings some joy to those who need it or contributes to advances in education, science, the arts or the environment.”

The Rosenthal mailing address is 11 Encina Avenue, Monterey, CA 93940.

January 5 update. As news of Rick’s passing spreads, there will be more posts from all those he touched. A Naval officer and student of Rick’s has posted here. He points to Rick’s blog on his fight, a blog I followed but am now finding too hard to read.

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  1. […] of support).  Each finalists is assigned a coach to help them prepare their presentation (the late Rick Rosenthal was proud of the role he played as a coach, and I think finalists working with him may have had a […]

  2. […] The late Rick Rosenthal in Secrets for Success with Optimization, suggested that solution persistence should be the default choice in optimization modeling. […]