Remembering Andrew Loerch

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Andrew Loerch

Andrew (Andy) Loerch, long-time faculty member and associate chair of the Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research, passed away June 16 after an unexpected and brief battle with cancer. Loerch had just retired on May 24, 2022 after 22 years of service to George Mason University.

“Andy was an outstanding teacher, a trusted mentor to numerous students, a researcher who brought in millions of dollars in funding, and an esteemed leader in the Military Operations Society,” says Ariela Sofer, interim divisional dean for engineering at the Volgenau School of Engineering. “Above all, I am indebted to him for his fourteen years of dedication and support service as my associate chair.He always took on departmental obligations, whether they involved big-picture matters or minute details, whether they were carefully planned activities or urgent crises.I am eternally grateful for his dedication, hard work, sage advice, and sense of humor.” 

Loerch was a 26-year veteran of the United States Army and rose to the rank of Colonel. He earned his PhD from Cornell University and was a graduate of Naval Postgraduate School and Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Looking back at career highlights at Mason he once said, “Part of my job was the care and feeding of our military students. I advised every single one of them and many of them have gone on to be leaders in the defense analysis field.” In addition, he was proud of some of the department’s funded work, citing an important study on how the presence of women in military units impacts the units’ effectiveness.  

Among other duties, Loerch served as a faculty marshal at the college degree celebrations and university commencement. For the past eleven years, the College of Engineering and Computing depended on his leadership to organize and coordinate faculty volunteers, a job he once described as neither trivial nor simple. His detailed charts, notes, and guidance will be a permanent reminder of this service to the community.

Loerch played with the Northern Virginia Senior Softball league; was principal bassoonist of the Manassas Symphony Orchestra since 2000 as well as a board member; he enjoyed riding his bike with the Old Cranks Cycling Club out of Vint Hill, Va. as well as taking cycling trips throughout the country. He was the ultimate New York Yankees fan. 

“I am personally thankful for Andy’s invaluable support as associate chair,” says John Shortle, department chair of Systems Engineering and Operations Research. “He brought so much to the department. We will all miss his stories, sense of humor, and friendship.” 

Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Manassas Symphony Orchestra.

A celebration of life viewing was held on Saturday, June 18, 2022.  Link to the service information:!/Obituary