Spring Luncheon

For 34 years Commerce alumni have been meeting in the spring to renew old friendships, relive shared experiences, meet college faculty and administrators, and recognize the achievements of fellow alums and outstanding teaching faculty.

"Illinois has benefited greatly from the involvement of Bill Karnes in encouraging private giving and volunteerism for the university," according to UI president, Stanley O. Ikenberry

On April 22, about 400 alumni, faculty, and friends, gathered to honor the career achievement os William G. Karnes, retired chairman of the board of Beatrice Foods Co. In 1936, at the age of 24 Karnes joined the company as a $110 per month law clerk. Sixteen years later he was president and CEO. In 1972 he also became chairman of the board, a position he retained until his retirement in 1976. In 1985 he was called out of retirement to serve on the Board of Directors and as chairman of the Executive Committee.

Under Karnes's leadership, Beatrice, primarily a dairy firm, was transformed into a large, diversified international food company. It went from 8,00 employees and annual sales of $229 million to 80,000 workers and more than $4 billion in sales. This meteoric growth was accomplished through a series of friendly mergers and acquisitions.

Karnes earned a B.S. in accountancy from the UI in 1933 and a law degree from Northwestern in 1936. He has retained close ties to his alma mater, serving as the first chair of the collages Business Advisory Council (1969-71), which he helped to found; president of the UI Foundation 1978-83 (member since 1954); and vice president of the Foundation Board of Directors, 1992-93. . In 1982, Beatrice endowed the William G. Karnes Professorship of Mergers and Acquisitions "to honor the business acumen, personal integrity, and compassion for his fellow man" that exemplified Bill Karnes' accomplishments.

The tribute paid to Bill Karnes at the luncheon was only one in a long string of awards that include the Horatio Alger Award, B'nai Brith Great American Award, honorary degrees from Knox College and DePaul University, University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award, and President's Award for Leadership and Service from the UI Foundation.


Because quality teaching is so important to learning, the Commerce Alumni Association recognizes outstanding performance in the classroom. Each year since 1972 (undergraduate) and 1973 (graduate) the association has presented the Excellence in Teaching Award to two faculty chosen by the college. This year, the association added two additional awards to recognize the contributions made by graduate teaching assistants. We'd like you to meet this year's winners who were also honored at the luncheon.

Robert W. Gillespie

Robert W. Gillespie, professor of economics, joined the Illinois faculty in 1960 after earning a Ph.D. from MIT and a B.A. from Stanford. He teaches courses in bother international and managerial economics. Gillespie take a distinctive approach to teaching. In Contemporary Issues in the International Economy, Gillespie, instead of assigning textbook readings, relies on contemporary sources that change with the changing world. He also uses research papers rather than exams to test his student's knowledge.

Although Gillespie expects a lot from his students, they appreciate his strong commitment to them and to the material he teaches. They praise him for inspiring critical thinking which allows them to "gain insight into complex economic issues."

Paul Newbold

Paul Newbold , Professor of economics, joined the faculty in 1979. A leading research figure in time-series econometrics and business forecasting, he possesses an extraordinary ability to transmit these findings to graduate students. Although he deals with complex Issues, his classes are models of simplicity and precision. He de-emphasizes the technical apparatus of econometrics which can frequently be distracting.

Since coming to Illinois, Newbold has had a major impact on the direction of economic studies in the college. When he arrived, time-series analysis was taught at very few universities. He developed and implemented the doctoral course in this area, now universally recognized as integral to the study of economics.

Newbold holds a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Wisconsin and a B.Sc. first class honors, from the London School of Economics. Before coming to Illinois he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Nottingham.

Benito Sopranzeiti

BENITO SOPRANZEITI, a doctoral student in finance, received a perfect 5 on HIS student evaluation forms for two sections of Fin 254. This is truly remarkable. Even faculty generally recognized as superb teachers do not often get perfect scores.

Department Chair Chuck Linke attributes Sopranzetti's success to his teaching philosophy "students are my customers. . . I should provide them with the very best product possible."

As one student says: "He is a compassionate, dedicated professional who regards his students as his top priority. . . . He exuded a passion for finance that was contagious. . ."

Students don't just like Sopranzetti's class, they love it!
Siaw-Peng Wan

SIAW-PENG WAN, an economics doctoral candidate, has been a TA for Econ 173 (statistics) since the spring of 1991. His teaching ability and dedication are recognized by his students and advisors alike. In addition to his performance in front of the class, he makes contributions behind the scenes. He and another TA worked to develop a highly successful new computer guide for the Econ 173 course to accompany new statistics software used in the class.

Wan's advisor reports that Wan's students outperform those in other sections of Econ 173. Students praise Wan for "lectures that are clear and concise . . . . He explains the reasoning behind theorems and laws, expanding our knowledge base and fine-tuning our thinking." Students were especially grateful to Wan for his friendly attitude which extended beyond helping them with class work and did not stop when they were no longer his students.