Herb Simon, University Professor of Psychology, played a major role at Carnegie Mellon University in the development of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (renamed the Tepper School of Business in 2004), the Department of Psychology, the School of Computer Science, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The thread of continuity through all his work was his interest in human decision-making, problem-solving processes, and social institutions, In 1978. Professor Simon won the Nobel Prize for Economics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1943, and was on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon for 52 years, championing excellence and innovation.
Chapter 1, selection: Constructing a University
I had a curious first impression of the Carnegie campus.
I arrived there by cab through a snow-covered Schenley Park on a bright
winter morning, catching a glimpse of Henry Hornbostel's stately Palladian
buildings, then sitting almost outdoors, it seemed, in Bill's many-windowed
office, surrounded by snow-carpeted lawns. I lectured to the economists
on disguised unemployment in agriculture in "backward" economies,
a topic I had explored in the course of my studies of the economic effects
of atomic energy. The economists detected a bit of a foreign accent, but
Pittsburgh was a far more pleasant city than my midnight
experiences had led me to expect. I learned of the Pittsburgh Renaissance
which was just then ridding the city of most of its major sources of smog
and pollution: houses heated by coal (replaced by natural gas), steam
locomotives (replaced by diesels), and Bessemer converters (replaced by
open hearths). Technological changes had conspired at this time to make
all of these polluters uneconomical, and civic action had introduced strong
and successful regulations to clean the air. (Was inventionthe new
technologythe mother of necessity here?)
Sometime in 1948, soon after my first visit to Pittsburgh,
the Carnegie Institute of Technology received a gift of $5 million in
endowment and $1 million for a building for a new Graduate School of Industrial
Administration (GSIA) that would provide business education for students
with undergraduate degrees in science and engineering. The donor was William
Larimer Mellon, who had founded the Gulf Oil Company.
From his industrial experience, he had concluded that modern high-tech firms needed top executives who both were skilled in management and understood science and technology. The provost of Carnegie Tech, Elliott Dunlap Smith, had described to Mellon the newly revised undergraduate industrial management curriculum as a rough prototype for a program that would attain these goals. Mr. Mellon was impressed, and the gift followed.
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Last updated 01 November 2004.