- November 30, 1938 - September 10, 2013
- Cambridge, Massachusetts
of Linda's Passing
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“Linda was a GREAT person. She will be remembered by many for her brilliance and numerous great deeds!!
1 of 1 | Posted by: Mark Treleven
Brown & Hickey Funeral Home
Professor Linda Greiner Sprague of Cambridge MA, a pioneer in the fields of Industrial Management and Executive Education for four decades and on three continents, died September 9, 2013, at Belmont Manor in Belmont, MA Linda was born in Barre, VT to Rachel Bilodeau Greiner and Ernst (Dan) Greiner. Even as a young child, she was fascinated by the manufacturing side of her family's granite business. After graduating from Spaulding High School in Barre, Linda began a life-long relationship with MIT. As a freshman in 1956, she was one of a very few women among 7000 students, and one of even fewer studying Industrial Management. Linda served as Editor-in-Chief of MIT's student paper, managed the student radio station, and won MIT's Karl Taylor Compton Award for service to the Institute, all three "firsts" for a woman. At MIT, she met her future husband, Christopher Sprague. She and Chris settled in Cambridge, where Linda maintained her family's home throughout her career and travels. Linda went on to earn an MBA from Boston University in 1967, and later that year she became the third woman ever admitted to Harvard Business School's Doctoral program. Although women were gradually being admitted as students, they were still forbidden from teaching at HBS, so she completed the teaching requirement for her doctorate at BU instead. While at still at Harvard, Linda was hired at the graduate business school at the University of New Hampshire (formerly the Whittemore School). As a Professor of Operations Management, she would ultimately enrich UNH for three decades with her global perspective. In 1977, Chris suffered a massive stroke that would leave him physically incapacitated and hospitalized for 28 years until his death. Linda never wavered in her commitment to Chris, personally involving herself in his treatment plan, building on the medical knowledge she gained while doing her dissertation on capacity planning for hospitals. Demonstrating her characteristic resolve, she pressed ahead with her work to provide for her children, and to ensure that Chris would always have the best possible care. Linda's enduring relationship with China began in 1980, when she was invited by the US Commerce Department to join a team of US professors to create China's first formal management training program in Dalian. 1980 was an extraordinary time to be in China, following the end of the Cultural Revolution, the development of new manufacturing models, and important social change. While in Dalian, Linda took every opportunity to learn about China's manufacturing base by getting right onto the factory floor or the backroom of a family's workshop. Linda was never happier than when she donned her hard hat and watched the manufacturing "action" from the center of the factory floor. After her return from Dalian, Linda spent most of the next two decades teaching at UNH while also teaching at and creating partnerships with European universities including IMD in Switzerland, Cranfield in England, and IESE in Barcelona. Her unique experience with China's burgeoning industrial revolution was in high demand and she consulted extensively for clients large and small around the world. At UNH she would develop several important programs, including the Executive MBA program and Manchester Manufacturing Management Center. She continued to bring her international perspective to her students in the United States. She would be named Professor Emerita in 2006. In 1997 Linda was invited to join the faculty of the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai (CEIBS). There, Linda was a legend on the faculty. One student wrote "…[she is] famous for her "rigorous" teaching style,… a reputation perhaps best summed up by her nickname, given with a mix of awe and affection- The Terminator." At CEIBS, Linda would hold key positions which contributed to the school's development, writing CEIBS' Articles of Association, serving as the first Chair of the Accreditation Committee, writing its Strategic Plan, and chairing the Publications Committee. When Linda left in 2007 she was named the first professor Emerita of CEIBS. She finished her teaching career at Rollins College School of Management in Florida until her retirement in 2009. Throughout her career, Linda devoted tremendous energy to professional organizations dedicated to developing the implementation and teaching of industrial management best practices. She earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues, serving as president of the Decision Sciences Institute and the International Society for Inventory Research and being named a distinguished fellow by her peers. After her retirement, Linda returned to her home in Cambridge and focused on MIT alumni activities as president of the Class of 1960 during their 50th reunion. In 2011, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and moved to an assisted living facility in Cambridge, where she lived comfortably until shortly before her death. Linda's husband Chris died in 2005. She is survived by her son, James Sprague and his wife Kim, also an MIT graduate, in Massachusetts; daughter Barbara Naeger and her husband, John, of New Hampshire; and five grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at a later date.
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