William E. Herrmann 1922-1999

Article excerpt

When Ned Herrmann died this past Christmas Eve, our profession lost one of its most creative thinkers and gifted teachers. His whole-brain model influenced HRD practitioners and business leaders alike, giving them a way to understand their own and others' thinking styles and learning preferences.

The term "Renaissance man" has often been used to describe Ned, and he indeed embodied that ideal in our modern age. A graduate of Cornell with a double major in physics and music, Ned pursued both science and art throughout his life. He gave solo performances at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh and in New York, created more than 600 award-winning paintings and sculptures, managed GE's management education program in its heyday, developed he widely used Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, wrote two influential business books, and built a successful multinational company.

Ned also received citations in Who's Who for physics and chemistry, Leading American Executives, and Famous Americans. He served as president of the American Creativity Association and was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Alaska and Franklin University. His work has been featured in such diverse publications as Business Week, USA Today, Discover, Scientific American, and the Harvard Business Review. In addition, he won ASTD's Distinguished Contribution to Human Resource Development Award in 1991 and was named to the HRD Hall of Fame in 1995.

Ned Herrmann was his own best example of using the whole brain.

A master teacher, Ned made every presentation unique. He engaged all parts of our being--brain, body, and spirit. Ned Herrmann was utterly committed to the possibilities and potential in each of us.

He relished seeing the aha! on people's faces as he helped uncover the truths they already knew. He honored the whole person and was interested in who you were as well as what you did. Once you became his Friend, you were for life. He was loyal, even to a fault.

Two facets of Ned Herrmann most defined how he operated in this world. One was his complete love of life and his involvement and excitement with all of it. …