Obituary: I. Norman Katz, senior professor of electrical and systems engineering, 86

I. Norman Katz, a longtime professor of electrical and systems engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, died Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in New Jersey. He was 86.

Katz joined the School of Engineering & Applied Science in 1967 as an associate professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. He was chair of the Department of Systems Science and Mathematics from 1987-2002 and was co-director of the undergraduate program in systems science and mathematics.


In 1983, he received a Distinguished Faculty Award in recognition of his dedication to providing personal contact to students and creating a welcoming atmosphere while stimulating students to think. He also served as chair of the Affirmative Action Committee and of the Faculty Advisory Board and was the engineering school’s representative on the Senate Council.

Katz retired in 2015 after 48 years at the university and became senior professor.

“For years, Dr. Katz would ride his bike to campus from west University City — it was a wondrous sight to see him biking back and forth, even as an older gentleman,” said Rabbi Hershey Novack, co-director of Chabad on Campus at Washington University. “He also chanted Torah with the precision of a scientist and the intonation of an artist. He must have done it for more than 70 years, and he was very talented.”

“The School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University has a distinguished reputation in systems science and analysis,” said Aaron Bobick, the James M. McKelvey Professor and dean. “Professor Katz was critically important in developing that reputation and contributing to the rise of the school as both a research and education organization.”

He is survived by his wife, Judith; son, Avi Katz; a brother and sister; three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A memorial service for Katz took place Jan. 16 in Hackensack, N.J. He was buried Jan. 17 in Jerusalem.

Read more about Katz on the engineering website.

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