Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
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During the summer of 1966, prior to George Kozmetsky’s becoming dean of the College of Business Administration, one of the University’s administrators was quoted in the Austin American-Statesman, “He’ll either be the best dean we’ve ever had or the worst. There won’t be any ‘in between’ for him.”
In his memorial speech on George Kozmetsky, UT President Larry Faulkner clearly resolved the either/or when he stated, “His institutional legacy at The University of Texas at Austin is extraordinary, and his influence will be felt for generations.” President Faulkner went on to say, “To his University colleagues, he was the dean who transformed the UT School of Business into a national leader.”
Over his sixteen year tenure as dean of the UT College and Graduate School of Business (1966-1982), Kozmetsky brought significant improvements to nearly every facet of the school, transforming it from a regional institution into a national powerhouse for research and business education. He recruited star-quality faculty, encouraged a cross-disciplinary approach to research and curriculum development, introduced technology into the curriculum, and upgraded facilities through the construction of the Graduate School of Business building in 1976. Aside from his contributions to the stature and reputation of the business school, Kozmetsky and his wife, Ronya, made personal financial contributions to the school and solicited significant endowments from others that helped propel the school into the national ranks. In short, he changed the school’s culture permanently by creating an environment of overall academic excellence.
Born in Seattle on October 5, 1917, George Kozmetsky’s parents were George and Nadya Omelanitz Kozmetsky. His life was a successful mix of academia, industry, government, and family. He received a B.A. in 1938 from the University of Washington and a M.B.A. in 1947 and a Doctor of Commercial Science in 1957, both from Harvard University. He continued his educational process throughout his life, periodically spending time at places such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to catch up on marine biology, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to refresh his understanding of physics, chemistry, and engineering, and the Santa Fe Institute to stay abreast of developments in complexity theory.
George Kozmetsky’s initial academic position was as an instructor at the Harvard Business School, 1947-1950. He was an assistant professor at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Pittsburgh, PA from 1950-52. His academic career was then suspended for sixteen years while he pursued a successful career in business.
He returned to academia in 1966 as a professor of management at UT. He was appointed, in 1967, as adjunct professor of bioengineering, UT Medical School at San Antonio—a position he held until 1972. In 1970, he was also appointed professor of computer sciences at UT and Walker-Ames Professor at the University of Washington. He held the J. M. West Chair for Constructive Capitalism at UT from 1977-1995 and the Murray S. Johnson Chair in Economics, UT from 1992-2003. He was also appointed professor, Department of Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1983. He was co-director of the Center for Technology Venturing (UT Austin) during 1988-1992, of the co-director, Center for Energy and Economic Diversification (UT Permian Basin), during 1991-92, and director of the Manufacturing Sciences Center, Graduate School of Business (UT Austin) during 1992-95.
During his academic career at UT, Kozmetsky supervised five Ph.D. dissertations and thirty master’s professional reports, and he encouraged and supported numerous other students in their educational endeavors. His dedication to teaching was emphasized in a quote from a letter in his file from Dean Robert E. Witt on February 25, 1993, which stated, “I am especially appreciative of your offer to fund the student interns at ATI this spring, in lieu of your spring salary.”
George Kozmetsky’s research interests were extensive. He personally identified the following as research areas: leading edge technologies, technology venturing, transfer of technology, energy, management of technology, creative and innovative management, information technology, asset management, artificial intelligence, national and international competitiveness, economic development, development of incubators, technopolis phenomenon, advanced manufacturing, concurrent life cycle, and teaching factory. His methodological scope was as broad as his research areas. He claimed as professional specialties the fields of systems analysis, organization theory, quantitative methods, information technology, and technology venturing.
While working toward his doctoral degree, George Kozmetsky joined a group of elite researchers at the fledgling Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Institute of Technology that was revolutionizing management education with its visionary work. While there, he co-authored two publications with renowned Professor Herbert Simon, including the highly influential “Centralization vs. Decentralization in Organizing the Controller's Department.” His doctoral dissertation, Financial Reports of Labor Unions, was published by the Andover Press. Kozmetsky continued to be an active scholar; following his deanship, he published numerous books and articles on a wide range of subjects. His articles and papers appeared in major professional journals, magazines, and newspapers.
Among the books Kozmetsky co-wrote or co-edited were Making It Together with his wife, Ronya, Electronic Computers and Management Control, Transformational Management, Creating the Technopolis, Pacific Cooperation and Development, and Modern American Capitalism. His most recent books are Global Economic Competition and Zero Time.
Kozmetsky also authored or co-authored seventy-one professional and research articles, including "The Role of Information Systems in Management," "Measuring, Monitoring and Modeling Quality of Life" (with A. Charnes and W. W. Cooper), and "The Management of Large-Scale Systems." Several of his articles were influential in structuring technology-based economic development, including "The 'Technopolis' Concept," "The Austin/San Antonio Corridor: The Dynamics of a Developing Technopolis," and "Creating the Technopolis: High-Technology Development in Austin, Texas."
George Kozmetsky was also active in numerous learned societies whose scope matched his intellectual interests. A charter member of The Institute of Management Sciences, Kozmetsky was chairman of the board, vice president, secretary/treasurer and served as its fifth president in 1958. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as chairman of the Society for Design and Process Science and was a member of the founding board of directors of the American Society for Education and Economic Development. He was a member of the Academy of Political Science, the World Future Society, the American Institute of CPAs, and the American Society for Oceanography. He was chancellor of the American Society of Macro-Engineering and a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the British Interplanetary Society.
George Kozmetsky’s administrative efforts were as impressive as his academic and research activities. From 1966-1982, he was dean of the College of Business Administration and of the Graduate School of Business at UT. In addition, he was executive associate for economic affairs in The University of Texas System. During his deanship in 1977, Kozmetsky founded the IC2 Institute, a think tank charged with researching the intersection of business, government, and education. It was Kozmetsky’s vision of the Technopolis, studied and written about by the fellows at IC2, which has largely shaped the development of Austin in the last two decades.
In 1983, Kozmetsky and IC2 were enlisted in the collaborative effort to convince Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) that Austin should be its home. The city, at George’s instigation, sold itself as not just what it was but as what it would become. A similar approach was used to attract 3M in 1984 and Sematech in 1988. Later, AMD, Motorola, Samsung, and many others followed suit, fulfilling George’s vision of the technopolis. He was director of the IC2 Institute until 1995, when he became chairman of the IC2 advisory board and a senior research fellow of the Institute.
The IC2 Institute is just one of the dozens of ways Kozmetsky helped spark the technology revolution. Long before anyone thought of the name Silicon Hills, Kozmetsky saw there was a place for educational institutions, government, and businesses to team up to stimulate the growth of technology centers. Through his influence, UT started offering classes in entrepreneurship, began looking for ways to commercialize its technical discoveries, and assisted in the creation of the Austin Technology Incubator. The Incubator has "graduated" sixty-five companies since 1989 that went on to employ 2,850 people and generated $1.2 billion in revenue. Four of these companies went public. He was also the guiding force behind the founding of the Texas Capital Network, which provides funding support for entrepreneurial activities.
In 1952, when George Kozmetsky took his extended sabbatical from academics, he became assistant controller and member, Technical Staff of the Advanced Electronics Laboratory, Hughes Aircraft Company, Culver City, CA. In 1954, he left Hughes to join Tex Thornton at Litton Industries where he was director of the Computers and Controls Division and then corporate vice president and assistant general manager of the Electronic Equipments Division. In 1960, Kozmetsky, along with Henry Singleton, founded Teledyne, Inc. which, by 1966, was in the Fortune 500.
Kozmetsky was executive vice president of Teledyne, Inc. until he joined UT in 1966. An acknowledged expert in high technology and venture capital, he helped develop over 100 technology-based companies. He served on numerous boards of directors including those of Gulf Oil, La Quinta, and Heizer Inc. He was one of the first two directors of Dell Computer Corporation and was director emeritus of Dell until 2003. Kozmetsky also served state and federal governments as an advisor, commissioner, and panel member of various task forces, commissions, and policy boards. He regularly testified on business and technology issues before state and federal legislators.
George Kozmetsky also had a distinguished career in public service. He was in the Reserve Officers Training Corps and became a medical corps officer in the Army during World War II. He earned a bronze star, a silver star, and a purple heart for wounds suffered while assisting soldiers on the front line. He was a member of the Santa Fe Institute Board of Trustees (1988-1992), a member of the Claremont Graduate University Board of Fellows (1999-2003), co-chair of CBIRD Bi-national Advisory Board (1999-2003), a member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, a member of the SEI Center for Advanced Strategic Management Board of Directors (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) (1989-2003), and chairman of the Texas Manufacturing Technology Advisory Committee (Texas State Technical College, Waco) (1990-2003).
As befits someone who made substantial contributions in academia, business, and public service, George Kozmetsky received numerous awards. The awards began at Harvard where he was a Baker Scholar, continued with his award of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Edward’s University in 1988, and culminated with his being one of nine recipients of the 1993 National Medal of Technology.
His other awards included the 1987-88 Dow Jones Award from the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business for his outstanding contributions to management education and the 1988 Thomas Jefferson Award from the Technology Transfer Society for his work in advancing technology transfer. In addition, he was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame for his business contributions to the state of Texas. In 1989, he received the University of Washington Alumnus Summa Dignatus Award. He received two awards in recognition of his entrepreneurial activities; he was named Austin’s 1992 Entrepreneur of the Year Supporter of Entrepreneurship and received the first Entrepreneurial Leadership Award from the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, Inc.
Kozmetsky also received the CBA Foundation Award for Distinguished Scholastic Contribution in 1976 and was made special visitor, Wolfson College, Cambridge University in 1989. In 1992, he was made a full member of the International Academy of Sciences of Higher Education (Commonwealth of Independent States—formerly USSR); in 1994, he received the Lien d'Or Award, Groupe ESC Lyon (France) and the Austin Area Texas Exes' Outstanding Educator Award. The following year he was given the Stewardship of Texas Values Award from the Texas Lyceum Association, and in 2000, he was given the Corporate Responsibility Award by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The YWCA of Austin honored him among its first Mentors and Allies for his sensitivity and gender blindness that goes beyond the definition of mentor to a promoter of women in leadership positions.
Kozmetsky is survived by Ronya, his wife of fifty-nine years; a son, Gregory, and his wife Cindy, of Austin; a daughter, Nadya Scott of Santa Monica; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Another son, George, predeceased him.
Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors James S. Dyer (chair), Tim Ruefli, and John Butler.