Patrick Colonel Suppes
March 17, 1922 - November 17, 2014
Dr. Patrick Colonel Suppes, the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University, died peacefully in his campus home surrounded by family on Monday, November 17th 2014. He was 92.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 17, 1922, Pat quickly distinguished himself as a gifted and charming student. Pat spent one year at the University of Tulsa and one year at the University of Oklahoma. In 1943, Pat was called to active duty in the Army Reserve. He graduated as 2nd Lieutenant, with a B.S. in a "special meteorology program" from the University of Chicago. He served as a meteorologist in the US Army from 1943-1946, first in the Solomon Islands and later in Guam, eventually coming to the rank of captain. Following the war, he moved to New York City where he earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University.
Pat joined the Stanford philosophy faculty in 1950. It didn't take long for his reach to spread throughout the university, where he championed interdisciplinary work, ultimately earning courtesy appointments in the departments of Statistics, Psychology, and Education. He founded both Stanford's Education Program for Gifted Youth (director 1992-2010) and Stanford's Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences (director 1959-1992). During his 64 years at Stanford, Pat's academic output was beyond prodigious. With his many beloved colleagues he published hundreds of papers and 32 books.
Remarkably, Pat's influence went far beyond his academic work. A true Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Pat spearheaded the field of computer-based instruction. In 1967 he formed the pioneering Computer Curriculum Corporation (CCC), the first company focused on placing computers in the classroom. Much of this was based on his highly influential elementary textbook series, Sets and Numbers.
Pat was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1962), the American Psychological Association (1964) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1968), a member of the National Academy of Education (1965), the National Academy of Sciences (1978), and the American Philosophical Society (1991).
In 1990 he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President George H. Bush.
Pat is survived by countless students, colleagues, and his large and loving family. His wife, Michelle Nguyen. His five children, Patricia Suppes, of Los Altos Hills; Deborah Suppes, of Woodside; John Suppes and wife, Dee Ann Suppes, of Palo Alto; Alexandra Suppes and husband David Franzson, of New York; Michael Suppes and partner Alison Hyland of New York. His three step children, Colin Bang Nguyen of Stanford; Kenna Thi Nguyen, and Parker An Nguyen of San Jose. His five grandchildren, Kyle Suppes, of Palo Alto; Anney Suppes of San Francisco; Natasha Suppes and John Suppes of Los Altos Hills; Ísold Suppes of New York. His nephew, George Suppes III and wife Sarah Suppes of Burlingame. Lastly, his much loved younger brother, George Biddle Suppes Jr. of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Suppes Family welcomes you to say goodbye at a public viewing on Friday, November 21st from 1pm-5pm at Spangler Mortuaries in Los Altos, 399 S San Antonio Road. Flowers may be sent to Spangler Mortuaries. In lieu of donations, the family asks you to send your photos of Pat to [email protected]
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Nov. 19 to Nov. 23, 2014.