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Harvey M. Wagner


1931 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Harvey M. Wagner Obituary
Harvey M. Wagner

November 20, 1931 - July 23, 2017

Chapel Hill

Harvey died suddenly and unexpectedly Sunday morning at age 85. At the time of his death, Harvey was a faculty member in Operations Research and Management Science at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a position he held for more than 40 years. A respected scholar, teacher, consultant and author, Harvey wore many professional hats and achieved a rare level of success in his field. He received his BS and MS degrees from Stanford University. In 1954 Harvey was selected as one of the first 12 university graduates to receive the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, pursuant to which he studied at King's College, Cambridge University. Following his studies at Cambridge, he earned his Ph.D. from MIT. Faculty appointments followed at Stanford, Yale and finally UNC, where he was the former Dean of the business school. Concurrently he was a consultant at RAND Corporation and McKinsey & Company. Harvey rubbed elbows with Nobel Laureates in academia and rolled up his sleeves to work with his students as they pursued their interests and goals.

Harvey is renowned for his work in the area of Operations Management – a field that studies how firms can do their work better using mathematical models and data analysis. His seminal book titled Principles of Operations Research with Applications to Managerial Decisions was published in 1969. The book is a classic text that helped tens of thousands of graduate students learn concepts related to Operations Research over these years. His article titled Dynamic Version of the Lot Sizing Problem (1958) was selected as one of the most influential papers published in the prestigious Management Science journal and remains one of its most cited papers. Harvey was inducted as a fellow of many academic societies including Institute for Management Science and Operations Research (INFORMS), American Statistical Association (ASA), and Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society (MSOM). His scholarly work has won many awards including the Lanchester Prize, the Edelman Award and an Expository Award given by INFORMS. He also received the Weatherspoon Award for Outstanding Research Accomplishments at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Harvey was passionate about teaching; he inspired and mentored many students throughout his career and was held in high regard by his colleagues.

At his core, Harvey was an inveterate collector. Starting with model trains as a child growing up in Los Angeles, he later gravitated toward the art world. His next efforts as a collector were shared with his wife Ruth, with whom he established a diverse collection of avant-garde and contemporary American paintings, many which now hang in art museums all over the United States. In later years, travelling throughout Australia with his partner, Will Owen, sparked a deep passion and interest in Australian Aboriginal art. During the last decades of his life, he and Will amassed one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Aboriginal art outside of Australia. He and Will, who predeceased him in December, 2015, donated the collection of more than 900 works of art to the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, creating the Owen and Wagner collection in order to educate and enhance the knowledge of future generations of scholars, students and admirers about the beauty and complexity of this genre.

Harvey was a beloved husband, partner, father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Glesby Wagner of Pittsburgh, PA; his two daughters, Caroline Reichard (Jeff) of Woodsboro, MD and Julie Laun (Peter) of Pittsburgh, PA and his four grandchildren: Henry and Andrea Reichard and Benjamin and Jeremy Laun. In lieu of flowers, etc. the family requests that any memorial contributions be made in support of the Owen and Wagner collection of Aboriginal Australian Art Endowment and sent to the Hood Museum of Art, 6 East Wheelock Street, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755.

Condolences may be shared at CremationSocietyNC.com
Published in The News & Observer from July 28 to Aug. 2, 2017
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