Hank Krieger

Hank Krieger

Hank Krieger 1936–2022

Hank Krieger, beloved colleague and mentor, died June 29. During his 37 years at Harvey Mudd College, he had many leadership roles on campus, including chair of the Department of Mathematics and chair of the faculty. Within the math department, he was known for his kind, supportive and generous nature, and depth of knowledge across many fields of mathematics. He was a versatile problem solver who appreciated all areas of theoretical and applied mathematics.

Krieger was a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (B.A.E., 1957), earned a Fulbright Scholarship to University of Manchester, England, and received his PhD from Brown University (1964). He wrote his dissertation “Toeplitz Operators on Locally Compact Abelian Groups” under the supervision of Murray Rosenblatt. While serving on active duty as an officer in the Naval Reserve (1958–1961), he was a mathematics instructor in the Advanced Sciences Division of the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School, U.S.N. Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut. In 1964, he became a Bateman Research Fellow then assistant professor of mathematics at California Institute of Technology before joining the Harvey Mudd College mathematics faculty in 1968. During his career, he also taught statistics at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Krieger was an expert in probability theory and stochastic processes. He is the author of the college textbook Measure-Theoretic Probability. In addition to supervising countless Clinic projects and senior theses, Krieger mentored three PhD students—two during his time at Harvey Mudd College—through the Claremont Graduate University. Notably, Krieger’s mathematical grandfather was Mark Kac and great-great grandfather, David Hilbert.

Hank was also a legendary Claremont-Mudd-Scripps tennis coach. He was named to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletic Hall of Fame for his 22 years of outstanding leadership in the men’s tennis program. The CMS men’s tennis coach from 1976–1999, he coached the first CMS team to win a national team championship in the NCAA Division III (1981). His SCIAC match record was 212–33, and his teams were ranked in the Top 15 nationally 20 times in 22 seasons. He was NCAA Division 3 Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1993, and he had an overall match record of 407 wins and 222 losses. He coached 24 All-Americans during his career, including four national champions in singles (including A.J. Shaka ’80) and three national championship doubles teams.

After retiring, Krieger continued contributing to the CMS tennis programs as a team consultant, historian and volunteer assistant coach while serving on a handful of community-based committees and boards. Among his volunteer activities was his service— including being president of the Board of Governors—with the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys to help build community and enhance Jewish life. Through the Federation, he and his wife, Rita, learned about a group called the Sephardic Ashkenazi Friendship Committee, which runs humanitarian missions to benefit the Jews of Cuba. They spent several weeks there in 2003–2004, bringing clothing and medicine to the Jewish community, visiting Jewish families in Havana and in other parts of the country, and helping provide assistance to pensioners on fixed incomes.

In addition to his legacy of championships, the CMS athletic department instituted the Hank Krieger Award in 2000 following his retirement as the program’s head coach. The award is given each year to a graduating senior who exhibits athletic excellence, academic excellence, and leadership in athletics and campus life. At HMC, the Henry A. Krieger Prize in Decision Sciences is presented annually to rising seniors who show particular promise in probability, statistics or operations research. In 2005, Krieger received the HMC Honorary Alumni Award from the alumni association.

Krieger is survived by his wife, Rita, his daughter Elaine Greenwald (David), his son Jeffrey Krieger (Wendy), and his four grandchildren, Deborah Krieger, Louie Greenwald, Benjamin Krieger, and Hannah Greenwald. Tributes in his memory may be made to Claremont After-School Programs (CLASP).