In Memoriam: Dr. Frank M. Bass

Dr. Frank Bass

Dr. Frank M. Bass (1926-2006), often called the “Father of Marketing Science,” died on December 1, 2006 at his home. At age 79, he was in his 25th year as a professor of marketing science in the School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. Professor Bass’s research and that of his students was pivotal in establishing marketing as a quantitative science.

Information Pioneer

After his MBA degree from University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Bass spent a year with the wholesale pharmaceutical distributor, McKesson & Robbins, where he asked myriad questions about marketing that could not be answered. When he realized that no one, either in industry or academia, knew the answers he sought, he decided to become a professor with the goal of doing research to find the answers himself.

From that moment, until his death, he searched for mathematical theories that could be proven by testing with measurements (data) in order to provide answers to fundamental marketing questions. The mathematical and statistical models he developed of generalized marketing phenomena are among the most widely used in the world.

Distinguished Academic Career

  • He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois (1954)
  • MBA from The University of Texas at Austin (1950)
  • BBA from Southwestern University (1949).
  • U.S. Navy from 1944-1946 in Okinawa.

Dr. Bass held professorships:

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1951-54)
  • The University of Texas (1954-1957)
  • The Ohio State University
  • Harvard University as a fellow (1959-1960)
  • Purdue University
  • The University of Texas at Dallas, where he held the prestigious Eugene McDermott Chair (1982-2006)

Landmark Achievements

One of Dr. Bass’s many landmark achievements came when he developed a marketing model that tracks the sales of durable goods. His model, although built on limited data, was amazingly accurate.

The overall model led to numerous applications and scores of academic careers and literally hundreds of research papers extending the model subsequently known as the “Bass Model.” The model continues to be widely used in industry today. His original paper on the “Bass Model” was named by The Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences as one of the Top Ten Most Influential Papers published in the 50 year history of management science.

In 1972-75 Professor Bass served as the Editor of the preeminent journal in marketing — The Journal of Marketing Research. His international stature grew as a pioneer in management sciences when in 1978-79 he served as president of the Institute of Management Sciences. He later co-founded Marketing Science, arguably the most prestigious quantitative marketing journal in the field today.

Award-Winning Marketing Scholar

Dr. Bass won numerous awards for his research:

  • American Marketing Association’s 1979 William Odell Award
  • 1986 Paul D. Converse Award
  • 2002 Gilbert A. Churchill, Jr. Award
  • Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for Outstanding Contributions to Marketing Research
  • Loeb Distinguished Professor of Management at Purdue’s Krannert School of Management.

Professor Bass has received honorary doctorates from:

  • Purdue University
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of South Australia

Dr. Bass’s Educational namesakes:

  • University of Groningen in The Netherlands has created a special chair.
  • University of South Australia has created the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science.
  • The University of Texas at Dallas has established the Frank M. Bass Institute of Marketing Science.

Legacy Of Leaders

In spite of all his research contributions, Dr. Bass is perhaps best known for his development of research scholars. He has chaired the dissertations of 58 PhD students, most of whom are today leading scholars in marketing science and at top universities throughout the world.

Each of these scholars has followed in the footsteps of Dr. Bass and dedicated themselves to the future development of other scholars. These disciples of Bass have had a significant and continuing impact on the marketing field. Dr. Bass’s intellectual descendants number more than 215 scientists, a remarkable percentage of all marketing scientists.

Family Life

Dr. Bass is survived by his wife Portia Isaacson Bass, his son Douglas Bass, his step-sons Allen Isaacson and John Isaacson and 7 grandchildren.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].