Professor remembered for superior research

by Jodi Compton

The Carlson School of Management professor who died early this week in northeastern Wisconsin was a pioneer who advanced the study of management, a colleague said Wednesday.
“This was not your typical, average-Joe University of Minnesota professor,” said Alfred Marcus, chairman of the Department of Strategic Management and Organization. “This was a person who made enormous contributions over his lifetime, a very prolific scholar and writer,” said Marcus.
Larry L. Cummings, 59, was reported missing after taking a boat out onto Ike Walton Lake in Lac du Flambeau township in Vilas County, Wis., on Monday. His body was recovered from the lake Tuesday evening.
He had been at the University for eight years, teaching courses in strategic management.
At the time of his death, Cummings was on a yearlong sabbatical. Cummings planned to retire in June, Marcus said.
Born in Indianapolis, Ind., Cummings was also educated in the Midwest. He held a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wabash College in Indiana and a master’s degree and a doctorate in business from Indiana University.
Before coming to the University, Cummings taught at Indiana University, the University of Wisconsin — Madison and Northwestern University. At the University, Cummings held the Carlson chair in management since 1988.
A few decades earlier, Marcus said, business was an area of study that wasn’t expected to be as rigorous as fields like psychology and biology. It was considered to be a “practical” area of study best learned in the workplace. Cummings was one of the people who changed that, making the field more academically stringent, Marcus said.
“He was a person who insisted on precise use of statistical analysis in studies and had very high standards with regard to measurements of concepts.”
Christopher Nachtsheim, associate dean of the Carlson School, said, “He was thought to be one of the finest researchers in the business school.”
Cummings owned a cabin near Ike Walton Lake in Wisconsin. He was there with his longtime girlfriend Jeannie Porter, but apparently went out fishing alone on Monday. Around 10:18 p.m., Porter reported him missing to the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department. His body was recovered Tuesday from about five feet of water after being spotted by a search plane, tribal police chief Gene Roehl reported later that evening.
Cummings’ body was taken to the coroner’s office for an autopsy; no cause of death is yet available.
In addition to Porter, Cummings, who is divorced, is survived by daughter Anne Cummings, 37, of Philadelphia; son Glenn Cummings, 33, of Charlottesville, Va.; and his mother, Lillian Cummings, 89, of Franklin, Ind.
Memorial arrangements are still pending, said Glenn Cummings, who was in Lac du Flambeau on Tuesday. The Carlson school is also planning to have a memorial, said Nachtsheim.