A message from Dean Schmittlein on the passing of Dean Emeritus Abraham Siegel

Published: January 19, 2011

Dear friends:

I write to share the sad news of the passing of Dean Emeritus Abraham Siegel.

News of Abe’s passing has allowed many to reflect on his extraordinary service to the MIT Sloan School of Management and his dedication to our community. Abe joined MIT in 1954 as an Instructor in the Department of Economics. In 1964 he became a Professor of Industrial Relations, with a dual appointment at MIT Sloan and the Department of Economics. After 13 years as Associate Dean under Dean Emeritus Bill Pounds, Abe became Dean of the MIT Sloan School in June, 1981. Abe served as dean for six years of strategic growth.

As he began his tenure he publicly referred to MIT Sloan as a “jewel of a School” and he polished that jewel in many ways that have had a lasting impact. Abe hired the School’s first director of alumni relations and his commitment to building an energized and committed alumni community extended to the publishing of the first alumni magazine as well as the growth of alumni programming across the country. Our community can see the results of Abe’s vision in our current Office of External Relations, our alumni magazine, MIT Sloan, and in the varied ways our alumni support our mission.

Abe also oversaw an unprecedented rejuvenation in our physical plant. In just a few short years the Sloan building was renovated; the bridge between E52 and 70 Memorial Drive was built; and classroom space expanded significantly as did space allocated for major research centers. Abe’s vision for a vibrant East Campus has been an inspiration to the deans who came after him, propelling us toward the new and vibrant spaces we occupy as a School.

Finally, the landscape of our faculty and degree programming was greatly influenced by Abe. He envisioned and oversaw the reorganization of our faculty into the three areas within which we still work—Behavioral and Policy Science; Applied Economics, Finance and Accounting; and Management Science. Conversations he initiated with the School of Engineering around efficiency and effectiveness of complicated manufacturing processes presaged and helped promote the Leaders for Global Operations program. Abe’s foresight led to one of the most compelling illustrations of the dynamic, unique, and powerful cross–campus collaborations possible only at MIT.

Abe leaves behind his wife, Lil, three children, and many grandchildren.

Some who knew him best have shared that in his passion for MIT Sloan Abe was like a father to our community and indeed, that is how he shall be remembered.

Best wishes,
Dave Schmittlein
John C Head III Dean