Irving H. La Valle '60
Irving H. La Valle graduated from Trinity with a B.A. in economics cum laude. While at Trinity, Irving was a member of Phi Kappa Alpha, Campus Chest, the Atheneum Society, and the Economics Club. After graduation, Irving worked for a year on Wall Street. He then attended Harvard University to earn his M.B.A. and D.B.A. Throughout his academic career, Irving was awarded with many honors including the Ferguson Prize, the Phi Gamma Delta Prize, and the Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award. Irving joined the faculty of Tulane University in 1965 where he spent his entire professional career as a professor of decision theory.
As a professor, Irving’s research achievements were highly regarded both on and off the Tulane campus. He was considered to be one of the world’s leading experts in the field of decision theory. In 1988, he was the first recipient of the Freeman School’s Erich Sternberg Award for Faculty Research. He received the honor again in 1996. Also In 1996, he was given the Frank Plumpton Ramsey Medal by the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science. One of the highest honors in his field, the medal is given in recognition of career-long, distinguished contributions to decision theory and its applications. That same year, he was honored with the creation of the Irving H. La Valle Research Award at the Freeman School. He also held the Francis Martin Chair in Business at Tulane. He was the first chairman of the Special Interest Group on Decision Analysis, also serving as the group’s newsletter editor from its inception in 1981 through 1995. In addition to his teaching and research, Irving served as the secretary of Tulane University’s Senate for 18 years.
Irving enjoyed cooking and entertaining, reading all kinds of books, and playing the piano, harpsichord, and organ. He had an amazing memory and impressed everyone he knew with how quickly he could complete The New York Times crossword puzzle. He was a good sailor and an expert craftsman who built much of the furniture in his home. Irving passed away in 2000 at age 60.