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Ross Community Remembers 'Friend to Many,' Alfred Swinyard

10/17/2008 --

Swinyard leaves his mark on the Ross School as a compassionate, warm, and engaging scholar.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Professor Emeritus and Associate Dean Emeritus at the Ross School Alfred W. Swinyard passed away September 30, 2008.

Swinyard was born in Logan, Utah, on June 13, 1915. His education included a bachelor's degree from Utah State University in 1937, an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1939, and a PhD from Syracuse University in 1955.

Swinyard served in the U.S. Army in World War II, including three years in the China-Burma-India Theater, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. From 1946 to 1957, Swinyard was professor of marketing and chairman of the marketing department for the College of Business Administration at Syracuse University.

In the private sector, management research was his forte, including the significant appointment as director of management research for the firm of Booz, Allen and Hamilton, marketing research consultant to Esso Standard Oil Co., and instructor-consultant to General Electric Company.

In 1962, the University of Michigan began to receive the benefit of his business and academic experience, appointing him as professor of business administration and director of business research at Ross. As director, he was responsible for the development and supervision of the research program at the Bureau of Business Research, the Institute for International Commerce, and the Industrial Development Research Program of the Institute of Science and Technology. He further coordinated his research activities by working with individual faculty members and doctoral candidates. Swinyard was appointed associate dean of the Ross School in 1968, a position he held until the time of his retirement.

"His scholarship was never neglected; a series of publications seemed to move with ease from his investigative mind," said colleagues in a report from the Proceedings of the Board of Regents. "Students also benefited from his ready ear; they got an answer. Faculty found a responsive and familiar chord; they got help. The administration requested studies; they got the documents --- in pristine and readable form. In short, he treated people with respect, and affection."

Swinyard retired in from the University in 1980 and was subsequently appointed associate dean emeritus and professor emeritus of business administration.

"Throughout his career, he was compassionate, warm, engaging," says long-time friend and Professor Emeritus of Business Administration and Communication Studies Herbert Hildebrandt. "He was a consistent friend of both new people to the school and those with long tenure."

Swinyard also was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a member of the American Marketing Association, Beta Gamma Sigma, Alpha Kappa Psi, Sigma Chi, the Harvard Club in Sarasota, the University of Michigan Club, and a former member of the Venice Yacht Club.

Surviving family members include his wife of 67 years, June Hanson Swinyard, son Alfred W. Swinyard, Jr., daughter Suzanne S. Hanselmann, grandchildren Matthew A. Swinyard, Michael J. Swinyard, Frederick H. Hanselmann, Peter A. Hanselmann, Eric W. Hanselmann, and Christian M. Hanselmann, and four great-grandchildren.

"Swinyard exemplified one of those rare individuals who adroitly merged a business career with the academic. In this process, both benefited," says the Board of Regents report. "Indeed, his humane touch of decency and good will --- to students, peers, and administrators --- have left an imprint beyond the pages of his many writings."

In memorial, donations may be made to Village on the Isle Scholarship Fund, 900 South Tamiami Trail, Venice, Florida, 34285.

—Leah Sipher-Mann

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847, bernied@umich.edu