Harper W. Boyd Jr., the first recipient of the Sebastian S. Kresge professorship in marketing at Stanford Business School, had a long career in education that began in 1952 when he joined Northwestern University as an associate professor shortly after earning his PhD there. His professional career officially ended when he retired from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1988. Unofficially, Boyd continued teaching as a volunteer and led the university's Business Forum, a lecture series that brought nationally known speakers to Little Rock. Over his lifetime, he was the author, co-author, or editor of at least 50 books and more than 100 articles, an editor of the Journal of Marketing Research, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Marketing.
"Harper Boyd was a giant in the field of marketing education and also in the lives of the many people he touched," said Michael Ray, who is the John G. McCoy-Banc One Corporation Professor of Creativity and Innovation and of Marketing, Emeritus, at Stanford Business School. "When I first experienced him in a classroom at Northwestern nearly 40 years ago, my first thought was that he made the other professors I had at the time seem inadequate. Later when I became his colleague here, I was overwhelmed by his energy. He was someone, we used to say, who had more ideas than anyone we knew. But more importantly, he implemented a surprising proportion of them."
Boyd was chairman of the marketing department at Northwestern and director of its business school graduate division when he left to take a position on the marketing faculty at Stanford's Graduate School of Business in 1963. At Stanford, Boyd was director of the International Center for the Advancement of Management Education (ICAME), which educated professors of management from emerging countries at Stanford. He was named Marketing Educator of the Year in 1967 by Sales and Marketing Executives International and he was vice-president for the educational division of the American Marketing Association. Boyd left Stanford in 1974.
After Stanford, Boyd was Robert and Vivian Young professor of marketing at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, dean of the Tulane University Graduate School of Business, and finally Donahey Distinguished Professor of Marketing at University of Arkansas, Little Rock.
"He accomplished so much that no article can capture his life," said Ray. "For instance, several years ago he was the Arkansas tennis champion in his age bracket. And he continued to write and publish books in areas of his interest, working often with students he had here and elsewhere.
"After the death in 1956 of his young son, Harper, he dedicated himself to students for the rest of his life, which may explain his sometimes disconcerting combination of demanding and caring. He wanted you to be your best, to live to your potential. Only a few months before his death, he was urging me on as a 'young man with potential.'
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