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Together these three faculty members have devoted 100 years of service to the Department of Finance (from left, Jim Gentry, professor emeritus; Louis Chan, professor and department chair; and Roger Cannaday, associate professor emeritus).


A Look Back


Editor’s Note: As the College celebrates its 100th year, Perspectives will include a series of Centennial snapshots that focus on the history of our departments. In this issue, we share a snapshot of the story of our Department of Finance through the reflections of our faculty and a timeline of department milestones.


ase studies have long been a strong teaching tool in business. Jim Gentry, who joined the finance department at Illinois in 1966, had been using them as part of his courses for 25 years before he came up with a different idea—base the class totally on case studies. “In the spring of 1992, I taught for a semester at the University of Virginia and realized that complete immersion in case studies creates a unique learning environment,” says Gentry. “So when I returned that fall, I started a new under-

graduate course called ‘Cases in Finance’ and then in 1993 I started a new graduate course with the same focus.” Now a professor emeritus, Gentry taught the graduate course until last spring. “It was so satisfying to see the excitement that researching, analyzing, and presenting these cases created for our finance students,” says Gentry. “Even years after they took the course, I would hear from students that they would recall concepts that they learned in the Butler Lumber case.”

At the same time, case competitions across the country began to take off—and the College, with Gentry’s leadership, was well represented. “Our first case competition with Scott Brubaker as the team leader was at the McIntire Business School at the University of Virginia in 1993,” he says. “We had teams do well in Big Ten case competitions throughout the years, and in 2008 and 2009 I coached the case teams at Northwestern’s Default Case Competition, where we finished second.” Gentry’s commitment to providing students with this





The Department of Finance is established with the transfer of six faculty members and their courses from the Department of Economics. Paul van Arsdell (at center) is named head of the department, a position he would hold until 1971.

A master’s degree in finance is established; a PhD program in finance is established the following year.

Finance Professors Robert Mehr and Bob Hedges publish Risk Management in the Business Enterprise. Earlier, Mehr had co-authored Principles of Insurance with finance instructor Emerson Cammack.

The Executive Development Program, taught by faculty from across the College, including the finance department, welcomes executive students (above) to a four-week summer session.


Photo credits: Letter, at left, and Image 6146, at right, courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives; page 20, at left, Image 7017, courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives.

College of Business I University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Perspectives Spring 2015  

ON THE COVER: Professor Heitor Almeida uses the studio in BIF to create video lectures that are part of the College's innovative delivery of...

Perspectives Spring 2015  

ON THE COVER: Professor Heitor Almeida uses the studio in BIF to create video lectures that are part of the College's innovative delivery of...