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In Memoriam: Tom Mentzer
Tom Mentzer

John (Tom) Mentzer, UT Knoxville Chancellor’s Professor and Harry J. and Vivienne R. Bruce Chair of Excellence in Business in the Department of Marketing and Logistics, passed away on Friday, Feb. 26.

Mentzer taught at UT for more than 30 years. He received his master’s degree in marketing and a doctorate degree in both marketing and logistics from Michigan State. He taught at Virginia Tech for 15 years before he was recruited to Tennessee.

“Mentzer was a pre-eminent scholar,” said Jan Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration. “Each day he exemplified the best of the business academic discipline, consistently contributing through teaching, application and discovery. His presence was in great demand by a broad range of audiences, ranging from undergraduate students to CEOs of multinational corporations. He approached the business world as a laboratory, enabling him to integrate theoretical insights with cutting-edge practices. The knowledge he generated helped facilitate his impressive teaching and research record. He unselfishly extended those benefits to include his colleagues at UT and elsewhere in business and academe.”

Mentzer was one of the country’s leading scholars in marketing and logistics strategy. His research focused on the contribution of marketing and logistics to customer satisfaction and strategic advantage in supply chains; the application of computer decision models to marketing, logistics and forecasting; and the management of the sales forecasting function. He published more than 190 papers and articles, and nine books. Mentzer was recognized in 1996 as one of the five most prolific authors in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and in 1999, as the most prolific author in the Journal of Business Logistics. He was awarded the Academy of Marketing Science Outstanding Marketing Teacher Award in 2001.

Over the years, Mentzer held key leadership roles including the president of the Academy of Marketing Science, president of the Council of Logistics Management and executive director for the University of Tennessee Demand and Supply Integration Forums. He received numerous awards in the fields of marketing and supply chain management, including the Berkman Distinguished Service Award for lifetime service to the Academy of Marketing Science in 2008, the Armitage Medal of the International Society of Logistics Engineers in 2007 and the Council of Logistics Management’s Distinguished Service Award in 2004.

“To garner such recognition in one discipline is a great accomplishment; to be so highly recognized in two disciplines is extraordinary. He leaves a lasting legacy as mentor to dozens of former doctoral students now serving as faculty at institutions around the world,” Williams said.

Mentzer is survived by his wife, Brenda, and daughters, Ashley and Erin of Knoxville, and his mother, Minnie, and sister, Susan, of Harpers Ferry, W. Va.

In his last weeks of life, Tom Mentzer wrote an inspiring ‘book’ of his life, his ordeal fighting cancer, and his beliefs. The work entitled “Learning to Celebrate Life” is about keeping your glass half-full (celebrating life) versus half-empty (enduring life). Mentzer asked that this be shared with as many people as possible. We are glad to fulfill his wish (click here).

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