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The Evolution of the Center at Penn

ACASA, named for Dr. Russell L. Ackoff, Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of the Wharton School, was launched in October, 2000. The Center operates as a think tank in the vanguard of systems thinking. The Center is the result of generous contributions of Ray Stata (chairman of the board, Analog Devices), the Anheuser-Busch Foundation, and the General Motors Foundation.

The Center traces its origins back to 1951, when the first American academic program in operations research and an associated, academically-based research group were formed at Case Institute of Technology by C. West Churchman and Russell L. Ackoff. In 1964, Dr. Ackoff and several colleagues moved to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. They established a graduate program in operations research and assumed responsibility for the Management Science Center (later to become The Busch Center).

In 1972, The University offered one of the first undergraduate degrees in Systems Engineering, a program which is currently one of the largest degree majors in the School of Enginnering. In 1974, an innovative graduate program in social systems science was established in The Wharton School to reflect the continually broadening interests of the faculty and students involved in systems thinking. In 1980, the Social Systems Sciences Department was established at Wharton. Dr. Ackoff, Dr. Silverman and their associates at the Center have served organizations such as:

American Airlines
American Medical Association
Analog Devices
ARMCO Latin America
Anheuser Busch Companies
Bell of Pennsylvania
The Boeing Company
Briggs and Stratton
Canadian Pacific
Eastman Kodak
E.I. DuPont de Nemours
Eli Lilly
Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Reserve Bank
Ford Motor Company
General Electric
General Motors
Imperial Oil Canada
Internal Revenue Service
Kaiser Permanente
Koop Foundation
Marriott International
Metropolitan Life
Mexico City government
NASA/Goddard and JPL
National Heart Attack Alert Program
National Institute of Health
National Library of Medicine
Natural Rural Development
Bank of Mexico
National Life of Vermont
National Science Foundation
PanCanadian Petroleum
Pentagon/Defence Modeling and Simulation Office
Sun Microsystems
Union Carbide
U.S. Air Force (C3CM, Kirtland AFB)
U.S. Arms Control & Disarmament Agency
U.S. Steel
White House Communications Agency and Military Organization