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Decision Sciences Professor Jim Southam Retires

News + Events : Decision Sciences Professor Jim Southam Retires


Professor Jim Southam is retiring from the Decision Sciences department in the College of Business after 36 years at SF State.

Jim joined the Department of Data Systems and Quantitative Methods (a predecessor to both the Department of Decision Sciences and the Department of Information Systems) in 1973 after teaching at Cal State Stanislaus for three years. Jim received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Southern Oregon College and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Oregon State University. While a faculty member at SF State, Jim was granted several leaves to pursue his M.B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and also a J.D. from U.C. Hastings College of the Law.

Decision Sciences Professor Jim Southam

Jim gained considerable professional experience during the development and growth of the microcomputer industry in Silicon Valley. From 1979 to 1982, he worked with Durango Systems, one of the original microcomputer manufacturers which predated the PC. Soon after the introduction of IBM’s first PC, Jim worked with American PC Labs where he was responsible for the development and delivery of microcomputer software training for the employees of major corporations. Later at Octagram Jim held software design and programming responsibilities for the development of software for business school accreditation and conducted a series of software training seminars at sites across the country.

During the summer of 1985, Jim worked at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. His responsibilities were to help them set up their first microcomputer laboratory and to develop and deliver software training sessions for their Faculty and Staff.

Later, Jim lived in Italy, and worked for Olivetti as a consultant in software development, primarily in the design and analysis of user inferfaces and helped with the English translation of some early software demonstrations for computer trade shows. Subsequently, Jim and three partners founded the PacificRim Prosperity Corporation in 1994 to do business in an emerging China.

Jim also built a solid reputation as an excellent teacher. The 14th edition of Jim’s textbook, “Contemporary Business Mathematics for Colleges,” was published in 2009. Jim also served as department chair in the mid 1980s.

A significant non-teaching responsibility was in university athletics, as Jim was the University’s “Faculty Representative” to the Far Western Conference (FWC), the Northern California Athletic Conference (NCAC) and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). He was the first president of the NCAC and did all of the legal and financial paperwork involved with setting up a tax free organization that hires employees.

In 2003, Jim was inducted into the San Francisco State University Athletics Hall of Fame. Jim enjoys running, swimming, photography, travel, theater and opera appreciation. He and his wife seem to get to Italy more than other countries due to their familiarity with the language and the fact they have many friends there. Jim has remained active with the Istituto Educazione Italiana (IEI), a San Francisco Bay Area organization that teaches Italian language and culture.

Jim’s first post-retirement activity will be a halibut fishing trip to Alaska at the first of June.

Many thanks, Jim. Best wishes.

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