Vanderbilt management professor Richard L. Oliver dies

Richard L. Oliver (Vanderbilt University)

Richard L. Oliver, emeritus professor at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, died June 13 at his home in Nashville. He was 71.

A distinguished researcher in the field of consumer psychology, Oliver joined the Owen School faculty in 1990 after more than a decade of teaching at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Graduate School of Business Administration at Washington University in St. Louis. He retired in 2009 as professor emeritus from the Owen School.

Within the field of consumer psychology, Oliver made significant contributions in the areas of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and post-purchase processes. He was the author of the marketing textbook Satisfaction: A Behavioral Perspective on the Consumer (Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 1997).

“One of my strongest memories of Rich was his love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles,” said M. Eric Johnson, dean of the Owen School. “Of course, Rich enjoyed using the company and its famous customer culture as examples in his marketing electives. But he enjoyed riding them more than talking about them.”

He held the position of fellow of the American Psychological Association for his extensive writings on the psychology of the satisfaction response. Among his many professional activities, Oliver served on the boards of the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management and Journal of Retailing. At the Owen School, he was honored with the James A. Webb Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award and the Dean’s Award for Research Productivity.

“[rquote]Rich was certainly the world’s greatest expert on customer satisfaction, and he played a key role in the 1990s in making the Owen marketing group internationally prominent[/rquote],” said Roland Rust, a long-time faculty colleague of Oliver’s at Vanderbilt, who now serves as Distinguished University Professor and David Bruce Smith Chair in Marketing at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

Oliver earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1967, an MBA from the University of Wisconsin in 1969, and a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Wisconsin in 1973.

No information about a memorial service has been announced.