With great sadness we report the death of Dr. Glynn Harmon (1933-2013), long-serving professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Information, who died quietly at his home on Sunday, February 17, aged 79 years. Dr. Harmon held multiple degrees including a Bachelors of Arts, Political Science, and Masters of Arts, Public Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. He also held Masters of Science and Ph.D., Information Science, both from Case Western Reserve University. Later, he earned a Masters of Business Administration from Southwest Texas State University.
Following his first appointment and four years' teaching as Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science at the University of Denver, Dr. Harmon enjoyed a 43-year career as a professor at the University of Texas. Beginning with his 1970 appointment as Associate Professor and continuing with promotion to Professor five years later, he served as acting dean in 1990, as well as interim dean for the school from 1997 to 1999. Much loved by generations of students, Glynn received both the Texas Excellence in Teaching Award and the Excellence in Advising Award, served as Graduate Advisor, and over his career chaired more than a dozen doctoral student committees, with his graduates now holding leadership positions across the globe. In 2004 he was recognized with a Top Advisor Award at UT.
Dr. Harmon's research centered on fundamental questions of the nature of information and human reasoning, with specific applications of information science to medical informatics, information economics, intelligent systems, and education. He was the author of multiple papers and reports but is perhaps best known for his two books: Human Memory and Knowledge and The Development of Information Systems in Real Estate. "Glynn was a pioneer," said iSchool Dean Andrew Dillon. "He envisioned a scientific discipline of information before the first iSchool was ever imagined and deserves to be recognized as a founding father of the field. He was also a true gentleman and friend who will be missed by generations of graduates and colleagues, many of whom he continued to assist, long after they had left Texas."
Glynn lived a rich and varied life. As a young man, he learned to fly and served as a naval aviator, an education officer, a Russian interpreter, and a communications administrator for the U.S. Navy. He was deployed in 1962 as one of only eight Russian interpreters during the naval blockade of Cuba. His memoirs of this time recount very rough seas, the dangers of Russian submarines, and the constant worry of impending danger from a possible US invasion of Cuba. He was also a long-serving member of the Academy of Oriental Medicine of Austin's Board of Governors. The many honors Glynn received over his lifetime included a national solo flight record of ten aircraft on his 16th birthday, Naval Air Training Command top flight student award, and Beta Phi Mu and Phi Kappa Phi awards.
Dr. Harmon was a beloved husband and teacher. His loving wife, Kitty, survives him. He will be missed by his family, friends, and the many students whose lives he touched. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the Austin Humane Society.
The School of Information has established the Glynn Harmon memorial fund. Donations may be made online or by check mailed to:
The School of Information
1616 Guadalupe Street, Suite 5.202
Austin Texas 78701
Please make checks payable to The University of Texas.