I first met Richard when I had the pleasure of taking his self-managing work teams course as an SOM student in the early 80’s. We then reconnected at Harvard some years later in my role as co-chair of the IEM program. It was such a privilege to have him as a member of the IEM faculty for eleven years. Without fail, participant reaction to his sessions placed him in the “rock star” category. I so enjoyed reconnecting with him each summer, learning about his latest work and thinking, and witnessing the many thank you’s he received from IEMers for his outstanding sessions. There was a particularly special twist to my connection with Richard three or so years ago when my daughter – a member of the Harvard College Class of 2012 – took (and, not surprisingly, greatly enjoyed) his undergrad course. I was so delighted and thankful that two generations of Zolners were able to benefit from his wisdom and many other gifts.
I hope it was abundantly clear to Richard during the GroupFest activities just what kind of impact he had on academe and the world. A truly amazing scholar, terrific teacher, unbelievable mentor for academicians and professionals alike, and, perhaps most importantly and impressively to me, a genuinely nice guy. I’m sure he was also a wonderful son, spouse, father, and grandfather.
The Hackman family will very much be in my thoughts and prayers. I truly hope that reflecting on and celebrating Richard’s amazing life and legacy will provide some consolation in the days and weeks ahead.
With warmest wishes,