Raymond L. Hilgert, D.B.A., emeritus professor of management and industrial relations in the Olin School of Business, died Saturday, Aug. 23, 2003, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo., after a three-year battle with cancer.
He was 73 and lived in Kirkwood, Mo.
An award-winning teacher, author and labor arbitrator and a nationally recognized media commentator and business ethicist, Hilgert taught at the University from 1961-2001.
Hilgert was a mainstay in the business school’s personnel management and labor relations programs while tirelessly championing the importance of business ethics. Known for the attention and concern he showered on students, Hilgert was outspoken in his concern that leading business schools not allow faculty research to overshadow the importance of classroom education.
“Professor Hilgert was an outspoken voice advocating for the centrality of teaching at the University,” said Stuart I. Greenbaum, Ph.D., dean of the Olin School. “His uncompromising concern for students and their learning experience helped shape the caring culture of the Olin School and Washington University.
“He was an institution within an institution. His clarion call will be missed.”
Arthur E. Carlson, Ph.D., emeritus professor of accounting, said Hilgert put teaching and his students first.
“He was a master teacher, and he thought that teaching was more important than anything else,” Carlson said. “Ray felt that if a professor spent all his time just doing research, you weren’t doing your students justice, but he was also a tremendous researcher. He did the best job of anyone I knew balancing the two.”
Hilgert grew up in St. Louis and graduated in 1948 from Southwest High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, from Westminster College, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Washington University.
Hilgert served in the Air Force as an air weather officer from 1952-56.
As a certified labor arbitrator, for decades Hilgert helped settle many area labor disputes. Hilgert published more than 90 articles in human resources and business journals and was the co-author of six books.
Hilgert was active in his church and this year was awarded the Christus Vivit Award by Concordia Seminary.
Among survivors are his wife, Bernice, three children and eight grandchildren.
A memorial service is planned for 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 12345 Manchester Road in Des Peres, Mo. Memorial contributions may be sent to the student aid fund at Lutheran High School South; 9515 Tesson Ferry Road; St. Louis, MO 63123.