Dr. Rolf Wigand, professor emeritus of information science, business information systems, and management at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, passed away Sept. 25.
“I am greatly saddened to learn of his passing,” said Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, chair of the Department of Information Science. “In addition to being a tremendously productive scholar in the field of information science, Dr. Wigand was a great teacher and mentor to his students. He contributed generously to our discipline through his conference, editorial, and review work. He was a kind, soft spoken, and considerate colleague that will be missed by all who knew him.”
Wigand was born in Altkirch, Germany, and grew up in Mayen, Germany. He earned a B.B.A. in marketing and advertising in 1970 and a master’s degree in mass communication in 1972 from Texas Tech University. In 1975, he earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in organizational communication.
Wigand spent four decades as an active and productive professor and researcher. He began his career in academia in 1975 as an assistant professor of communication at Arizona State University. By 1983, he was promoted to a professor of communication and public administration at ASU.
He served as a professor of information studies at Syracuse University School of Information Studies and a senior research fellow with the Maxwell School at SU from 1991 to 2002. He was the past director of the graduate program in information management and founding director of the Center for Digital Commerce, both at Syracuse University.
In 2002, Wigand joined UA Little Rock as the Maulden-Entergy Chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Science and Management, retiring in 2015. His research interests lie at the intersection of information and communication technology and business and societal issues, the role of newer information technologies and their impact on organizations and society, as well as their strategic alignment within business and industry.
“Rolf touched numerous lives, and I was fortunate to be among them,” said Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Science. “He was an incredible mentor, friend, and colleague. We spent hours almost daily discussing about research, current affairs, and life in general. We were still actively working on research projects together. May he rest in peace.”
In 2019, Wigand received the Distinguished Member Cum Laude award from the Association for Information Systems, a nonprofit professional association for the advancement, promotion, and study of information systems. The award honors his research achievements and his commitment to the international information systems community.
Wigand, a founding and charter member, received the award “for supporting the association by maintaining continuous membership, for sharing your skills and talents by serving in leadership roles within the association, and for advancing the field of information systems research through AIS and AIS-affiliated journals in various editorial positions,” said Dr. Helle Zinner Henriksen, AIS vice president of membership and professor of digitization at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark.
Wigand’s active research agenda yielded 21 books and more than 500 articles, chapters, and monographs. His 1997 book, “Information, Organization and Management: Expanding Markets and Corporate Boundaries” with Wiley & Sons, is listed among the “75 Best Management Books of All Time” in the Handelsblatt Management Bibliothek rankings.
His research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the German National Science Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin, the European Union, the International Science Council in Paris, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and other funding agencies.
Since 2015, he has been affiliated with the Emeritus College at ASU. During his academic career, he held numerous administrative positions as well as served as a visiting professor at universities located in Mexico City, Munich, Bayreuth, Manheim, Stuttgart, Helsinki, Sydney, and Hong Kong. He consulted with a variety of national and international business organizations.
The Bled eConference community, of which Wigand was a founding member, remembered Wigand as their “esteemed colleague and deal friend.”
“We will always remember Rolf as a truly inspiring professor, colleague, and above all as a great man whose words would always encourage everyone around him to give and achieve their best,” the statement said.
Wigand was preceded in death by his son, Andreas, and is survived by his wife, Dianne, and his brother, Rainer. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity in Wigand’s name.