July 27, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- J. Fred Weston, beloved friend, professor and benefactor of UCLA Anderson School of Management passed away Monday, July 20, 2009. He was 93 years old. Professor Weston was renowned for his path-breaking research on mergers and acquisitions, and was an institution builder who mentored numerous outstanding graduate students including Nobel Prize winning economist William F. Sharpe.

“Fred led a life in full, leaving an indelible mark on all he touched through the years,” UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian said in an announcement to the Anderson faculty and staff. “He was a truly remarkable person – a loving husband and father, a leading intellectual, exceptional teacher, warm friend, and gentle soul. He leaves a vast legacy, and many wonderful memories of his special gifts.”

Professor Weston’s innovative thinking contributed to the development of finance as an important subfield of economics; he focused on the intersection of industrial and financial economics, with a particular focus on mergers, antitrust policy, and corporate valuation. His research continues to be widely cited in today’s scholarly literature. Dean Judy Olian noted that it was Professor Weston’s “acute intellect, stellar reputation and charming demeanor that attracted leading scholars to the Anderson School and made its finance group one of the top finance faculties in the world.”

The author of 32 books, and 47 journal articles, Professor Weston also chaired about 66 doctoral dissertations. He served as president of the American Finance Association, the most prestigious appointment in the field of finance, president of the Western Economic Association, and president of the Financial Management Association.

He received UCLA’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 1978, and his writing received a remarkable five Abramson scroll awards for his exceptional contributions to Business Economics. Professor Weston edited the Journal of Finance, the leading journal in the field, and served as associate editor for 14 journals including Journal of Financial Research, and Business Economics. He was a Fellow of the American Finance Association, the Financial Management Association, and the National Association of Business Economists.

Professor Weston earned his AB degree in political science in 1937, his MBA in business economics in 1943, and his PhD in financial economics in 1948, all from the University of Chicago. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he worked briefly at GE as a management trainee prior to earning his MBA. He then served in the US Army as a senior warrant officer in their finance department, receiving an honorable discharge in 1945.

His illustrious academic career originated at the University of Chicago and he was first appointed associate professor at UCLA in 1949, becoming professor in 1956. In 1982 he was appointed to the Cordner Chair in Money and Financial Markets.

Professor Weston “retired” in 1986, though it seemed a retirement in name only as he remained active and engaged with the school and his research assistants, continuing to teach and directing the Anderson Research Program on Takeovers, Restructuring, and Corporate Governance which he established in 1968. He received the Dean’s Special Award for Outstanding Achievement in Instruction in 1994, and UCLA’s Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award in 2008.

The popular professor relished his work with junior colleagues and doctoral students, maintaining lifelong contacts with them. Professor Weston was also a generous benefactor of UCLA Anderson, helping to realize his vision for the finance group through extraordinarily generous gifts that supported the J. Fred Weston doctoral fellowship, the J. Fred Weston Chair in Finance, the Fink Center for Finance and Investments, and other priorities in the school.

Professor Weston was married to Bernadine who passed away in 2008. He is survived by his sons Byron and Kenneth, and daughter Ellen. A memorial service was held at UCLA Anderson on August 12.

Watch a video interview conducted by AFA Historian Stephen Buser.

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