A Tribute to Howard Raiffa

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Howard Raiffa’s passing.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I have no idea how fast news travels in the “medical decision making world”, across the country (or over the ocean). But I thought I’d share this announcement with you. (As of this morning, it hasn’t appeared yet in The New York Times yet.)

Howard Raiffa was the one who gently convinced me to go to Harvard for graduate school. And he supported me during the challenging process of being a graduate student. I gave him a gigantic hug when he presented me with my diploma!

I expect that many of you met Howard and Estelle Raiffa in 2011 when Howard received the SMDM Career Achievement Award. Howard must be one of the kindest men in the world.  But Estelle just might be the kindest woman! Together they were so welcoming to me!

We remained in touch over the years, and I would sometimes see him when I had the occasion to come to Boston. I last saw him in San Francisco in November 2014 when he was honored by the Decision Analysis Society for the 50th Anniversary of the field of Decision Analysis. What a momentous occasion for him, for Estelle, and the field of decision analysis.

I just received a note from Joanna Siegel, who reminded me, of course, of how many careers he launched. In his office, on top of 2-3 filing cabinets, was a set of red-bound volumes – it looked like an encyclopedia.  But it really was all the dissertations for which he was an advisor.  The names on the binders read like a “Who’s Who of Decision Analysis”.

We were all touched by Howard Raiffa – his scholarship, his teaching, his enthusiasm and his menschlichkeit will always be remembered.

Best regards,

Scott B. Cantor, PhD
SMDM President
October 2003 - October 2004

For a biography, see https://www.informs.org/About-INFORMS/History-and-Traditions/Biographical-Profiles/Raiffa-Howard.


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