Actuarial Science Memorials

David P. Hayes Memorial Chair in Actuarial Science
David Hayes photo

David Hayes

David P. Hayes, FSA, MAAA, EA, was born September 3, 1961, and passed away on April 9, 2001 of myeloid leukemia, leaving his wife, Dina Krofta, FSA, and two children, Jake and Lauren. David was also survived by his parents, Cliff and Meredith, and his sister, Becky.

David, an Omaha native, excelled academically throughout his life. He achieved a perfect score on the Math portion of the SAT exam, and was an outstanding actuarial science student at UNL. He was the 1979 recipient of the Bankers Life Nebraska 4-year actuarial science scholarship. A 1983 graduate of UNL, David majored in Math with a minor in Actuarial Science. He earned the designation Associate of the Society of Actuaries before graduation, and became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1989. During his years at UNL, David was active in the Actuarial Science Club, and helped organize the Club’s High School Math Contest. He combined his interest in running and fundraising for the Actuarial Science Program by twice running in the Havelock Charity Run as a member of the “Actuarial Aces” team.

David accomplished and contributed much in his all-too short actuarial career. He worked as a benefits actuary for several consulting firms, serving as the pension practice leader for Mammal and Associates and subsequently the Employee Benefits practice leader for Milliman and Robertson’s Omaha office from 1994 until his death. He was an active member of the Nebraska Actuaries Club, and served on the Club’s Committee for the Chair of Actuarial Science at UNL, which provides both financial and advisory support to UNL’s Actuarial Science Program, from 1990 until his death.

David had a lifelong interest in sports and was an avid Huskers fan. He was also an active member of MENSA, and served on the Board of the Community Alliance.

Cliff and Meredith Hayes established the endowment to fund the David P. Hayes Memorial Chair in Actuarial Science to honor David and in recognition of David’s positive feelings about his time as a student in UNL's Actuarial Science Program.


The 1920s: Otto Gross and Friends, and Floyd Harper: Pioneers of Actuarial Science at Nebraska
Otto Gross photo

Otto Gross

The roots of Actuarial Science at Nebraska can be traced back to the late 1920s when Otto Gross, a 1928 University of Nebraska graduate, and three classmates, including Ray Kentzinger, talked Floyd S. Harper, a Mathematics faculty member, into teaching them actuarial mathematics.

The efforts of the four students not only led to the first actuarial science instruction at the University of Nebraska, but also led to the formal study of actuarial science at Drake University and at Georgia State University as Professor Harper helped establish the actuarial science programs at those universities after serving on Nebraska’s Mathematics faculty from 1922-1947.

After Professor Harper’s resignation, the Mathematics Department dropped the Actuarial Science program, a move not favored by the local insurance groups. In 1957, the Actuarial Science program was restored through the efforts of the Nebraska Actuaries Club, which began in 1953, and, in particular, Jim MacLean, who was Club president for the 1956- 1957 club year.

Otto Gross passed away at age 98 on June 17, 2004 after a long and illustrious career as an actuary and insurance company executive. While attending the University of Nebraska, Otto worked at Midwest Life in Lincoln. After receiving a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Nebraska, he continued to work at Midwest Life until he left to study actuarial theory and statistics at the University of Iowa. From 1931 to 1935, Otto served as actuary and examiner for the state of Iowa Insurance Department. Subsequently, he served as actuary and executive for several insurance companies, retiring in 1977 as Senior Vice President at First American Life in Houston.