Thursday, December 14, 2006

What's Your Legacy?

It's been an interesting couple of days. Late last week, I was informed that one of my mentors had passed away at the relatively young age of 50. He wasn't my dissertation chair, but did teach one of the seminars I took, and was an integral part of my thesis committee. So, I flew out Tuesday afternoon and went to his memorial service yesterday.

He'd had an enormous amount of success as an academic - got his Ph.D. at age 24, published a phenomenal volume of research in top journals such as the American Economic Review and the Journal of Finance (multiple times). He'd been a visiting scholar at top universities and was a scholar in residence at the Federal Reserve Bank for years.

But publications fade over time. What was even more impressive (and will endure) was the impact he'd had on so many doctoral students. Many of them are now faculty around the country, and they dropped everything to fly across the country (and in the final week of the semester, yet) to honor the guy.

After getting my degree, I subsequently had the opportunity to visit at my alma mater for a while, and got to know him as a colleague and friend as well as a mentor. He was truly a class act, and whenever I needed advice on how to handle something, he was one of the first I'd go to.
I hope I can have even a small fraction of his impact.

Godspeed, Steve -- you'll be sorely missed.

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