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Dr. Stewart Fliege - In Memoriam

Dr. Stewart Fliege portraitThe Pepperdine and Graziadio community grieves the loss of Dr. Stewart Fliege, professor emeritus of decision and information systems, who began teaching at Pepperdine Graziadio in 1973. From the beginning, Dr. Fliege wanted a career in teaching and enrolled in the best psychology program in the nation at the University of Michigan where he studied under Dr. Clyde Coombs, who founded the mathematical psychology program at the University of Michigan. Dr. Fliege completed his PhD in 1956 with his dissertation topic on “Theory and Measurement of Psychological Probability,” a study on psychological probability and the phenomenon of decision or choice.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Dr. Fliege was hired at RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, as a Section Head. When he arrived at RAND he began working with the first IBM computers and found his new passion in life. Years later, Dr. Harvey Adelman, Professor of Statistics at Pepperdine, suggested Dr. Fliege apply for the associate professor position at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School (PGBS). A few months later Dr. Wayne Strom, professor at PGBS, hired Dr. Fliege as the first director of program development for the MBA program and as an associate professor for the university. Two years later, Dr. Fliege became the chair of qualitative faculty, chair of the professional and Executive MBA design committee, and professor of finance and qualitative methods at PGBS.

During his time at PGBS Dr. Fliege never used textbooks but instead created his own teaching model known as the “Problem Analysis Model” or PAM. This 14-step process showed how inferential and descriptive statistics fit into the overall process of management problem solving and decision making. PAM was continually improved and Dr. Fliege wrote two papers about the model: “What is the Problem? How proximal objectives focus on the problem - solving process” and “ Putting Statistics to Work: Why Do Business Schools Teach This Stuff Anyways?” Over the years Dr. Fliege witnessed amazing results from students using PAM in their careers, including Matthew Fong (MBA 1982), California State’s 30th Treasurer, who stated Dr. Fliege had the greatest influence on his career.

"Professor Stewart Fliege was one of the most dynamic leaders in our school. An excellent teacher who liked his students very much and was equally liked by them. He was a great colleague. He was very active with the strategic direction of our Business school and played a significant role in the development of several of our programs in the 80s, including our EMBA program." - Dr. Demos Vardiabasis

“Stewart was the ultimate colleague. He was forever cheerful and always available to share ideas and dialog when questions seemed to have no answers.” - Dr. William Bleuel, Professor of Decision Sciences

Our hearts ache at the loss of Dr. Fliege, his brilliant mind, and the influence he had on countless faculty members, students, and alumni. Dr. Fliege shed light on PGBS as an institution of learning, teaching, and developing Best for the World Leaders.