Professor Lee Schruben Retires

Professor Lee Schruben is retiring, effective January 1st, 2019. Before joining the IEOR faculty in 2000, Professor Schruben had been on Cornell University’s Operations Research and Industrial Engineering faculty for 23 years, where he held the Schultz Professorship and was Director of Cornell’s Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing. When he arrived at Berkeley, Schruben was immediately appointed Head Undergraduate Advisor, where he guided the implementation of a total revision of the IEOR undergraduate curriculum.

From 2001 to 2005, he served as Department Chair. While Chair, Prof. Schruben expanded the department’s footprint (thanks to the generosity of the Nuclear Engineering department) resulting in several new offices, a student lounge, and new graduate student spaces. He initiated the department’s relationship with alumnus Coleman Fung, eventually leading to the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership housing the College’s Master of Engineering program.

He also started the Operations Research and Management Sciences (ORMS) major in the College of Letters and Sciences, the first degree in a traditional engineering discipline to be offered in a liberal arts college. He later, with Jon Burgstone, started the Center for Entrepreneurship in Technology (CET). The CET has grown to become the Sutardja Center under the leadership of Ikhlaq Sidhu, whom Schruben hired away from the University of Illinois. At Berkeley, he started the field of Bioproduction, with the first NSF research grant in this area.

While Schruben was Chair, the University experienced what has since become a continuous budget crisis. That crisis lead to the recall of California Governor Gray Davis. During this period, the IEOR department was one of very few campus units not to require any staff layoffs, and was even able to hire new faculty.  This was due in part to Profs. Leachman and Schruben volunteering to take a year without their University salaries. Later all Berkeley faculty were required to take one-month unpaid furloughs.

As a teacher, Prof. Schruben‘s goal was for his students to know more about simulation than their competitors at other universities. He lead the development of the Sigma simulation teaching program, included among EDUCOM’s all-time educational software successes and used at over 400 universities and corporations.  

While at Berkeley, Prof. Schruben was honored by being the youngest of thirteen people elected worldwide to the initial class of Informs Fellows, and elected by that class to serve the longest term on its future Selection Committees.  He has given several keynote speeches at international conferences, as well as a Pritsker Lecture and a Titan’s of Simulation Lecture. He has a video interview included in the Informs Archives as a Pioneer in Simulation. He has written too many papers, three books, and assorted book chapters. Among other prizes, he is the only two-time winner of Informs ISIM Outstanding Publication Award with single-authored papers. Last year, he received the Informs Society on Simulation’s highest honor, its Lifetime Professional Achievement Award, given only occasionally but at most once a year.