Campus Life

UWF Faculty Member Wins Rare and Prestigious Award

By Josh Newby, University Communications

Bill Carper, a professor of Management and Management Information Systems (MIS) at the University of West Florida, has received the prestigious Moving Spirit Award for his contributions to the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

INFORMS is the largest professional society in the world for practitioners in the field of operations research, management science and business analytics. These problem-solvers are among the world’s brightest in math, science and business, and use advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions and educate others through journals, conferences and other media.

Carper has been active in the southeastern chapter of INFORMS for more than 30 years and has served as the chapter’s annual meeting program chair, proceedings editor, secretary/treasurer, vice president and president. In addition, he has been a member of the southeastern chapter’s governing council since 1987 and has mentored many of the chapter’s current leaders. Following the merger of the Institute of Management Science and Operations Research Society of America in 1995, Carper also rewrote the southeastern chapter’s constitution and by-laws in order to have them conform to those of the newly developed INFORMS organization.

According to the INFORMS website, the Moving Spirit award was established to recognize outstanding geographic chapter volunteers or student chapter faculty advisors who have been “moving spirits” in their chapters.

“It was great to hear I’d been nominated for such a prestigious award from the organization that has played such an important role in my life,” said Carper, speaking about the day he received the call that he had been nominated.

The awards are not given out annually; instead, they are given as the organization feels the need to congratulate outstanding members. There have been years when no awards have been given, and years when multiples have been awarded.

“I feel very honored to be considered for this award, much less actually receive it,” said Carper. “To know that my peers approve so strongly of the work I’ve done for the past 30 years is a huge compliment, and I’m very pleased.”

The fact that the Moving Spirit award is from an international organization makes Carper hopeful that it will generate positive publicity for the university and the department.

“The award will give the department national and international recognition,” said Carper. “By exposing our program, UWF’s visibility will be increased and it will hopefully become an institution that practitioners in this field look to for advising and assistance. We could easily become an academic institution of choice in this field.”

Arup Mukherjee, the Chair of the management and MIS program on campus, spoke about the INFORMS organization, as well as Carper’s contributions to it.

“I am personally familiar with INFORMS as the premier global organization for academics in the field of operations research/management science,” said Mukherjee. “Bill has worked tirelessly in various capacities for the betterment of this international organization for more than 30 years. I am proud of his exemplary service to this profession.”

As the former dean of the College of Business on campus, Carper said that it feels right to be back where he first started, as a faculty member.

“I had opportunities to go elsewhere administratively,” said Carper, “but I felt that I could make a contribution to the students who are the heart and soul of this university. I guess this award is proof of that.”