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Morris J. Garber

Professor of Statistics, Emeritus


1912 − 2004



Professor of Statistics Emeritus Morris J. Garber was born in New York City on June 11, 1912 and passed away on January 16, 2004 at the age of 91. Services were held on January 22, 2004 at Riverside National Cemetery.


Professor Garber received a B.S. degree in zoology from Columbia University in 1933. He and Gloria Ruth Routman were married in New York City on July 3, 1943. In September of 1947 Dr. Garber joined the genetics faculty at Texas A&M as an instructor while working towards a doctorate. In 1951 he received his Ph.D. in genetics at Texas A&M where he also studied statistics under Chauncey B. Godbey, who was chairman of the Department of Genetics. Garber received his computer training from Robert L. Smith, who was the director of the Texas A&M Computing Center. After receiving his Ph.D., he was appointed Assistant Professor of Genetics and Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty at Texas A&M. Five years later Morris Garber joined the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of California, Riverside in July of 1956 as Assistant Biometrician and Head of the Biometrical Laboratory, an organized research unit established by Al Boyce, who was Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Riverside.


Garber brought with him a copy of a program from Texas A&M containing statistical routines. Since UC Riverside had no computers on campus, this program was initially run on a computer at the County Offices in downtown Riverside whereby either he or others working with him would take the punch cards to the Country Offices and return with the printed results. It quickly became apparent that the campus needed its own computer, and Morris Garber requested that the campus lease one shortly after he arrived at Riverside. The first computer, an IMB 1620, arrived on campus in 1961. By that time, Morris had amassed a Biometrical Lab IBM program library with about 25 statistical programs. These programs, when submitted to and accepted by IBM, doubled the size of the IBM 1620 statistical program library. In the early part of 1963, Provost Herman T. Spieth took control of the IBM 1620, all the funds related to it, and established a campus Computing Center for general campus use with Morris Garber as its first director.


IBM technicians named the IBM 1620 computer CADET, an acronym that stood for "can't add, doesn't even try!" meaning that it used a "table look-up" for addition. It was housed in the new administration building now named Hinderaker Hall. When UC Davis gave up their IBM 7040 computer, it was given to UCR and housed in the basement of the building now named Olmsted Hall. The computing group with 25 FTE became large enough to require a manager, and Morris Garber was able to hire Jim Henshaw in that position. The next computer to arrive on the UCR campus was an IBM model 50, which was delivered to the Statistics-Computer Building which opened in 1974.

Morris Garber remained director of the Computing Center from July 1963 to June 1971, at which time Garber went back to teaching and research within the Department of Statistics.


Morris Garber drafted a proposal for a Department of Biometry sometime in 1966 at the suggestion of Al Boyce. The campus community, however, asked that the proposal be broadened and in September of 1967, a new proposal for a Department of Statistics was sent to the Office of the President just two months before the arrival of F.N. David, who was hired to be the first chairperson of the new Department of Statistics. The proposal was approved, but not for a Department of Statistics as requested, but rather for a Department of Biostatistics.


Morris Garber proposed a building to house the Computing Center and the new Department of Biostatistics (now Statistics) to be located between Webber Hall and the Bell Tower. However, the UCR administration preferred the present site of the Statistics-Computer Building. The actual design of the building was done by the Office of the Campus Architect, with Morris Garber planning the layout of the two floors to house the Department of Statistics and the Computing Center, together with a lecture hall in the basement space The plan was ultimately turned 180 degrees so that the administrative offices of both the Department of Statistics and the Computing Center were facing north towards the mountains rather than facing the rising hill to the south.


Following Garber's return to the Department of Statistics in 1971, he went to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria as statistician for two years in 1973. Morris returned to UCR in 1976 and remained in the Department of Statistics until his retirement in 1980, at which time he took a one and one-half year position as Statistical Specialist at the Instituto Interamericano de Ciencias Agricolas in Goiania, Brazil.


In 1987, after five years in retirement, Morris Garber was recalled to teach one or two programming courses for the Department of Statistics on an ad hoc basis. He continued to teach until his second “retirement” and farewell party which was held in the spring of 1995 in the Boyd Lounge of the UCR University Club.


Dr. Garber was truly a UCR pioneer. In addition to bringing UCR into the age of computing, he was instrumental in administering the Biometrical Laboratory, which gave rise to the Biometric Project, and in developing the proposal for the Department of Statistics and the proposal for a building to house the Department of Statistics and the Computing Center (the Statistics-Computer Building).


Dr. Garber was survived by his son David and wife Rachel, four grandchildren, Tal, Noam, Gilad and Eran, two great-grandchildren, and his daughter Diana Garber. Dr. Garber’s wife of 60 years, Gloria (Routman) Garber died April 25, 2006.


Robert J. Beaver, Chair

Barry C. Arnold