February 08, 2002

On the evening of Friday, Feb. 8, while much of the world focused its attention on the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics, friends, colleagues and former students of UCLA Anderson gathered with Dean Bruce Willison at The Regency Club to honor someone they consider an "Olympian." For the past six decades, J. Fred Weston has demonstrated a dedication to scholarly study and teaching that has immeasurably influenced the world of finance.

An expert in the areas of corporate finance, mergers, acquisitions and restructuring, Professor Weston is well-known in management education circles for his now-classic book, Managerial Finance (Dryden Press, 1962), which revolutionized teaching in this field. Weston has published numerous books and more than 100 articles, and he says it would be impossible to separate his research from his teaching.

After completing doctoral studies at The University of Chicago, Professor Weston began teaching at UCLA in 1949. He led the school's finance area or business economics area for 28 years, from the late 1950s to the mid 1980s. Professor Weston has been chairman of doctoral committees for 32 Ph.D. students — a role he considers one of the most rewarding aspects of his academic career. Most of his Ph.D.s became tenured professors within five years after graduation. A number of them have become distinguished, with one of them, William Sharpe, winning the 1990 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science.

Weston also served as director of UCLA Anderson's Research Program in Competition and Business Policy, which developed 192 publications and gave financial support to 39 students who completed their Ph.D. degree programs. This program developed models and empirical studies demonstrating that large firms were consistent with competition. In the early 1970s, the Research Program was among the first to publish research on the implications of the globalization of markets. In connection with these scholarly endeavors, Professor Weston was invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and related Congressional Committees at least once a year from 1953 through 1980.

Weston has been active in scholarly associations, having served as president of the American Finance Association, Western Economics Association, and the Financial Management Association. He served on the American Economics Association Consensus Advisory Committee during the 1970s. He has also been active in the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), of which he is a Fellow. NABE also honored Weston in 1991 with The Abramson Award, which is given in recognition of the best article published in the Association's journal, Business Economics.

In his teaching, Weston has emphasized theoretical concepts to guide managerial decisions. He has been interested in the total development of his MBA students, as well as his Ph.D. students. Some of his MBAs from the early 1950s have been making scholarship grants to The Anderson School's MBA Program citing Weston's impact on them during their studies. Professor Weston received a campus-wide award as an Outstanding Teacher in 1978.

After his retirement in 1986, Weston was recalled to teach primarily the course on mergers and acquisitions. His ratings as an instructor were superior, as noted in letters from the finance department chair, and Weston was recognized with a Dean's Award for Outstanding Instruction in UCLA Anderson.

In recent years, Professor Weston has concentrated his interests in the mergers and acquisitions area, as it represents a major force in the economy and an intellectual challenge to understand its pervasive impact.

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