It was literally a golden hour, as one by one, the gleaming medallions were placed around the necks of the distinguished professors honored at the college's most recent Investiture Ceremony.
Held on May 4, in Foellinger Auditorium on the Illinois campus, the event offered retrospective recognition to incumbent and past holders of named chairs and professorships in business administration, economics, and finance. Eight faculty members were honored in the ceremony, though only seven were present to accept a shadow cast by the loss of one of their number, just two days before.
The event was the third in a series of investitures recognizing the achievements of the holders of endowed chairs and professorships at CBA, as well as the donors who support them. On hand to honor the recipients, before an audience composed of family members and college faculty and staff, were University Chancellor Michael Aiken, Dean Howard Thomas (also invested), Associate Dean Fred Neumann, and department heads and chairs, Huseyin Leblebici, Dick Arnould, and Morgan Lynge, who, respectively, lead the departments of Business Administration, Economics, and Finance. Neumann, who made the opening remarks, invoked the words of the great French scholar Montaigne: "We should not ask who is the most learned, but who is the best learned." Chancellor Aiken described the ceremony's worthy purpose thus: "To tell the world's academic community that our faculty are prominent in their fields and that that prominence is recognized and appreciated by this institution."
Accomplishments of each honoree were recognized with a short address by their respective department head or chair with the notable exceptions of Roger Koenker, whose good friend and distinguished colleague, economist George Judge, arrived from the University of California at Berkeley to do the honors; and Howard Thomas, whose tenure as Commerce dean and faculty member ends with his imminent departure for a new job in England, and who was recognized with remarks by Chancellor Aiken.
And it was with fresh grief and bittersweet pride that the memory of Seymour Sudman, who died on May 2, was invoked throughout the proceedings, most particularly when the moment came for his investiture. "I know that he is here in spirit," remarked Leblebici, in a certain echo of the unspoken feelings experienced by many in the crowd that day. As Sudman's family looked on, his medallion was accepted by his daughter Carol.
The College of Commerce is pleased to announce several special opportunities for directed gifts, honoring some of those who have brought high distinction to our college.
It is through the generosity of our donors that these funds have been established, each benefiting a special academic interest, each created to ensure our future academic excellence, and each honoring the achievements of faculty and administrators who have helped us win and secure our well deserved reputation for excellence in business education. Present and prospective donors, alumni and friends alike, we cordially invite you to make gifts to one or more of the following:
The Robert Ferber Fellowship
Launched in 1998 by Illinois alumnus Fred Currier (AM Economics 1949, BA History 1948), this fellowship supports University of Illinois doctoral students in the area of survey research. A member of the economics faculty at Illinois, Robert Ferber was noted for his pioneering work in marketing, particularly survey research. Currier, a prominent market researcher who worked with Ferber in the `70s on the Census Advisory Board, was so impressed by the professor's vision, integrity, and honesty, that he went on to fund the
fellowship with a lead pledge of $50,000. The fund has since spurred additional gifts of more than $50,000.
The Julian Simon Fund
After noted economist Julian Simon died unexpectedly in 1998, retired CBA professor Jim Heins and his wife Nancy announced an unrestricted bequest, as a memorial to their long-time friend, who was for many years Heins' colleague on the economics faculty. The $100,000 gift, divided equally between the College of Commerce and the Executive MBA Program, honors a man who won an international reputation for his buoyant and often controversial views on the limitless potential of human beings to meet and overcome the challenge of declining resources views that won him the one-word description of "doomslayer."
The Howard Thomas Honoring Fund
Launched by Commerce Business Advisory Council member Chuck Finn (BS Marketing '55), this new fund has been created to recognize the achievements of Thomas, who has served as Dean of the College of Commerce and Business Administration for the past nine years and whose imminent departure for the deanship of Warwick Business School in England brings to a close a special era at the college. With gifts and pledges exceeding $130,000, this effort has already drawn sufficient funding to endow a graduate fellowship or numerous undergraduate scholarships. Additional contributions will allow it to grow. The final use of the fund will be determined in consultation with Dean Thomas.
The Vernon K. Zimmerman Professorship in International
Education and Research in Accounting
Established in 1998, this professorship honors the memory of a great alumnus, gifted professor, and inspired dean. Widely recognized as a leader in business education with a global vision far ahead of his time, Zimmerman (BS Accountancy '49) served as Commerce dean from 1971 to 1985. In 1962, he founded the Center for International Education and Research in Accounting (CIERA) at CBA, and in 1975 he established the Visiting Scholar Program, which has hosted more than 400 scholars from thirty-five countries. In 1998, the Vernon K. & Marion Pflederer Zimmerman Foundation provided initial funding for the professorship and issued a challenge for matching contributions to create a permanent endowment of $1.25 million. The Foundation has also provided major support in Zimmerman's memory to CIERA, with the ultimate aim of establishing an endowment of $1.5 million.