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Nov 10, 2016 2016-11 Faculty Finance

Pennacchi Invested as Bailey Memorial Chair of Money, Banking, and Finance

pennacchiOn October 14, George Pennacchi, professor of finance, was formally invested as the Bailey Memorial Chair of Money, Banking, and Finance in a ceremony held in the Deloitte Auditorium of the Business Instructional Facility. Pennacchi has been a faculty member in the College of Business since 1990. In 2010, he was named the Investors in Business Education Professor of Finance. His research focuses on financial intermediaries and the valuation of fixed-income securities and government guarantees. In addition to his teaching achievements, he is also a research associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and a senior fellow. Abbas Benmamoun, the vice provost for faculty affairs and academic policies, noted in his remarks that these types of ceremonies were among his favorites to attend. “You get to celebrate excellence,” he said. “Faculty are our competitive edge.” In speaking of his friend and colleague, Charles Kahn, professor emeritus of finance and the previous holder of the Bailey Memorial Chair, praised Pennacchi for his influential scholarship. In fact, Kahn stated that one of the papers that Pennacchi co-authored “now seems to be one of the two most important papers in banking theory of the past 40 years.” Though it was this scholarship that first excited Kahn when Pennacchi joined the Illinois faculty, Kahn said there were other benefits to having Pennacchi at Illinois. “I hoped for opportunities to do research with him, and I have been lucky enough to get published,” Kahn said. “But I and the whole Department of Finance got a lot more: a faculty member who is not only a world-class researcher, but also a generous colleague and mentor, and a model department citizen. Indeed, the backbone of the department.” Ben Sopranzetti PhD ’95, who is now a professor of finance at Rutgers University, had completed his doctoral degree under Pennacchi. He stated that the three words that best described his mentor are integrity, earnestness, and humility. He summed up his time as a graduate student under Pennacchi saying, “George, you are unequivocally one of the most influential people in my professional life. I am so lucky, sincerely lucky, to be one of your students. I feel blessed to have you as my thesis adviser.” Following the presentation of the medallion recognizing his investiture as the Fred S. Bailey Memorial Chair in Money, Banking, and Finance, Pennacchi expressed his thanks to the family and friends in the audience. He also recognized what he saw as the great collegial spirit within the Department of Finance. “When I talk to professors at other universities, and how their departments are, one of the things I’m always impressed with is that our department seems to be one of the most well run and nurturing environments for researchers and teachers,” he said. “I think it is because we have a team spirit here. All people are pulling together, and we have such a team spirit. That has been a great benefit to me.” About the Fred S. Bailey Memorial Chair in Money, Banking, and Finance Fred S. Bailey was born April 19, 1871. A Champaign native, he studied at the University of Illinois and later joined the Champaign National Bank, a bank his father had co-founded, as a clerk. He eventually climbed his way to the top, serving as president of the bank from 1925 until his death in 1955 at age 84. A bequest established the Fred S. Bailey Memorial Chair in Money, Banking, and Finance in 1957. According to the bequest, the chair is intended to “encourage, within the University of Illinois, distinguished men to provide sound American instruction in the principles of economics and free enterprise to the youth attending such institution.” Previous holders of the chair include Robert Haugen, Jay Ritter, and Charles Kahn.