David L. Huff, the Century Club Centennial Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Geography, died on Aug. 15 at age 83. A valued professor emeritus in the Department of Geography and the Environment and the McComb’s School of Business, Huff was very influential in his contributions to the field of quantitative geography, and a much beloved member of the university community.
Huff held a variety of teaching and administrative positions, spanning more than 50 years and a variety of disciplines. He taught at UCLA, gained a Fullbright Lectureship at the Université d’Aix-Marseille in France and served as the director of the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Kansas. Enticed by the opportunity to do the research he loved, Huff accepted a position at The University of Texas and remained there until his retirement.
In addition to his work in academia, he consulted for dozens of agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, Resources for the Future, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Bureau of the Census, and National Endowment for the Arts. He has advised hundreds of business firms on various aspects of market area analysis and served as an Esri technical advisor, using his expertise to develop advanced predictive models in business analysis.
Huff had remarkable standing in the profession, and deeply influenced the ways in which people view spatial consumer behavior. He developed the Huff Model, based on the premise that when a person is confronted with a set of alternatives, the probability that any particular item will be selected is directly proportional to the perceived utility of each alternative. The Huff Model has been used for more than 40 years by market analysts and planners, and continues to be the standard model for the industry.
Visit the Department of Geography and the Environment’s website to read more about Huff’s life and work.