Fort Smith High School
Bob Crisp

The constant in my life since leaving Ft. Smith has been the University of Arkansas. I came here as a freshman in 1958 and stayed for 6 years (avoiding Viet Nam was a big factor) for lots of parties and, incidentally, my BS and MS degrees in Industrial Engineering. I then went to work for IBM for a little over a year and learned that the corporate life was not for me. I then left IBM and went to the University of Texas at Austin and completed a Ph.D. in 18 months in Operations Research. I came back to the University of Arkansas as an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering in 1967 and have been a member of the faculty for 40+ years. I had some opportunities to leave the University and work in Industry but I realized that the freedoms of the academic life were what I wanted. I made a pledge that if I did not take one of the industrial management positions, then I would not go into academic management and have succeeded (other than short stints as Acting Department Head and Associate Department Head) in doing so. I came back to the University in the Industrial Engineering Dept. but had the computer background of working with IBM. So when the University created a Department of Computer Engineering in 1985, I moved to this new department and this is my current position. My love is the classroom and the many wonderful students I have had over the years. While my academic career has included the usual publications, etc., my strength has been in getting grants and gifts. My best estimate of the total amount of gifts and grants for the University and for the Public Schools of Arkansas is somewhere near $40 million. Unfortunately, the University does not work on the commission system but I am pleased these efforts have benefited many students. I am planning to retire in 2010 and will move to a transitional, part-time position for a couple of years.

I have been married three times. My first marriage to Clara Arnold of Mississippi ended in divorce but produced our three daughters: Catherine, Robyn and Rachel. My second marriage to Ginger Rawlins of Virginia ended with her death from breast cancer. I am now married to Connie Formica of N. Little Rock. Many people think there is something sad (parts of it are sad) in three wives but the reverse has been true: Ive had 10+ years of great relationships with each and I look on this as one of my blessings. Today, my wife and I have eight grandchildren: four from my daughters and four from her sons. I have nothing of which I am more proud than our children and grandchildren. My wife and I have a home in Fayetteville and a cabin on Beaver Lake. Travel has been and still is a high priority for us and we have been to Europe several times and to Canada, Alaska, Hawaii and several Caribbean islands over the past few years. We have much more travel that we want to do. My health is good and my only problems have been injuries from playing racquetball: one broken leg, one snapped bicep muscle and a rotator cuff. I still play about 4 times per week. Life has been good to me.

From my wild party days in High School, I have evolved over the years. Here are a few items:

I quit smoking in 1976.
I quit alcohol in 1987.
I refuse to quit sex.
I have served as an usher and member of the vestry in the Episcopal Church.
I am an avid fisherman and hunter (of ducks mostly, no deer or other mammals).
I am a liberal Democrat and do volunteer work in local and national campaigns.
My wife and I do service work with several local organizations: mostly service to poor and homeless.
I was inducted as a Charter Member of the Arkansas Academy of Computing.
My wonderful Mother lives in Conway and is doing great.
One of my great prides is my dog Louie, a Labrador Retriever, and deciding if I want to enter him in field trials.
I love history and in a second life, I might have been a historian.
I always have a book I am reading and probably read 40+ books (mostly fiction) per year.
I am deeply concerned about our country and the world and I hope our grandchildren will have the same or better opportunities as we had.
My personal test is: has my work and efforts made the world a better place?

I look to the coming years for the fun and freedom that we will have and the chance to do more travel, volunteer work and see grandkids. I reflect on the past years and find pride in what I have done. And I take great pride in being a member of the Class of 58 at Fort Smith Senior High. I extend my best wishes to all my classmates.

Bob Crisp - 2008