In Memory of Andy Sage

Few people have had such extraordinary impact as Andy Sage has had, as a pioneer and leader in systems engineering, as founding Dean of the School of Engineering at Mason, as a prolific author and as an educator.

As founding Dean, Andy had the vision to focus on information technology when it was virtually in its infancy. He hired an impressive array of scholars to lead the integration of IT and engineering. And he had the foresight to create the first interdisciplinary PhD in IT in the country. To paraphrase the country song, Andy was IT when IT wasn’t cool.

Equally amazing, Andy had the vision to establish undergraduate and graduate program in systems engineering when few others believed systems engineering was a discipline. At the time the program at Mason was one of only a handful of programs in existence, at the forefront of systems engineering education. It took many years till others recognized the importance of the field. Andy was SE when SE wasn’t cool.

Andy wrote, co-wrote, and edited a staggering number of books – well over twenty. His books spanned a wide range of topics, including communications and control, stochastic processes, decision support systems, economic systems, and, of course, systems engineering.

Andy’s pioneering work in systems engineering also led him to establish the earliest journals focusing on systems engineering. He was founding editor of the INCOSE journal Systems Engineering, and served for 27 years as editor of the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Transactions.

Along this journey Andy garnered numerous honors: election into the National Academy of Engineering, the Samuel Ramo Award, the INCOSE Pioneer award, as well as several Society Fellowships. The annual Andrew P Sage Best Transactions Paper award is the highest honor bestowed by IEEE SMCT.

Each of these achievements alone is more than most academics would hope to achieve in their lifetime. But Andy successfully crammed several lifetimes of achievements in the course of his professional journey. And he did that with collegiality, generosity, and grace.

His broad contributions continue to live within us, and will guide generations of systems engineers in years to come.

Ariela Sofer
Professor and Chair
Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research
George Mason University