Johnson Mourns Loss of Jerome Hass

Beloved finance professor taught Cornell University’s MBA students for 46 years

Johnson Mourns Loss of Jerome Hass

Jerome E. Hass (Jerry), Professor Emeritus of Finance and Business Strategy at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, and the Alan Krause Faculty Fellow in Real Estate Finance, died unexpectedly on Monday, January 22, in Ithaca, New York. He was previously the James B. Rubin Professor of Finance at Johnson. Jerry was a beloved member of the Cornell faculty since 1967, where he taught many generations of grateful students.

Jerry retired to emeritus status in 2008, yet remained actively involved at Johnson. At a celebration in the Dyson Atrium of Sage Hall in June of that year, Jerry quoted the Beatles: "You say goodbye, I say hello, hello, hello," he said. "It's a strange kind of retirement, because I'm not going anywhere!"

Calling him a "scholar, architect, visionary...one who sees opportunity and fulfills it," Professor Emeritus of Accounting and long-time colleague Tom Dyckman said that "Hass has taught more courses and more students than anyone in the history of the school."

Indeed, Jerry continued to actively teach at Johnson—a pursuit about which he was passionate. He was scheduled to teach Cornell Lectures in Finance in spring 2013, a popular course, which brought high-level finance professionals to his Sage Hall classroom.

While Jerry’s engaging teaching style was legendary among several generations of MBA students, he also was a nationally recognized expert in the areas of corporate finance, energy and regulatory economics and policy, applied microeconomics, managerial finance, security analysis and investment management, and business strategy. He had testified more than fifty times in state and federal regulatory and judicial systems, as well as before both houses of Congress.

Professor Hass received a BA degree from St. Mary's University, Winona, Minnesota, an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), and a PhD degree in economics from Carnegie-Mellon University. During his distinguished career at Cornell University, he served Johnson in many capacities, including director of the Public Administration Program (1979-1982); director of the Managerial Skills Program (1994-95); coordinator of the Investment Banking Immersion Program (1998-2001); and academic director of the Executive MBA Program (1998-2000).

His writings include co-authorship of the seminal text on managerial finance with long-time friend and colleague Harold Bierman, Jr. “An Introduction to Managerial Finance,” was published in 1973. More recently, Jerry has served since 1983 as special consultant to National Economic Research Associates, Inc.; and as senior consultant to Charles River Associates since 2011.

The post-retirement years saw Jerry actively consulting, serving on boards, tending his farm, enjoying his five children and ten grandchildren, and traveling with his wife, Jo. He also continued working with his daughter and son-in-law, Marna and Andy Boerman, in the family-owned business, Ithaca Agway. In 1999, Jerry entered a 50/50 purchase arrangement for the local retail business with the couple, and in 2010, sold his ownership interest to them. He remained involved in the business as the company treasurer, maintaining its relationship with the banks, and handling its pension and profit-sharing program.

Jerry shared his love of country living with the Johnson community for the 26 years until his retirement, with the annual Johnson Graduation Picnic, held each May on the Hass Farm, 16 miles north of Ithaca.  “Like Cornell's graduation,” Jerry wrote in his annual invitation, “We defer this picnic only when a tornado has been spotted”

The Hass family welcomed graduates, visiting family members, children, faculty, staff, friends—all were invited to the annual celebration. “We expect more than 250 people, but have virtually unlimited capacity,” Jerry wrote. That unlimited capacity extended far beyond the party, to virtually every area of a life lead with utmost generosity.

Among his list of “what not to do with Jerry,” delivered at the 2008 retirement celebration, Professor Hal Bierman included the following:

“Don’t ever tell Jerry any of your problems, because if you tell him, or even hint at any problem, Jerry will fix it.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations in Jerry’s honor to Catholic Charities of Tompkins County or to “Class of 1969 Scholarship in Honor of Professor Jerry Hass”  at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, 130 E. Seneca St., Suite 400,  Ithaca, NY 14850.

All are invited to share remembrances of Jerry, by commenting below. Click on the icon to the left of "Comments" to write your thoughts.


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