August 5, 2013

School Remembers Professor Emeritus Michael Adler


Michael Adler, professor emeritus of business, died on July 29. He was 76.

In his more than 40 years on the faculty, Adler was an influential member of the Columbia community. Among his many contributions, he was instrumental in developing the MBA class on international corporate finance and he served as chair of the Finance Division. He also joined the University Senate in 2002, where he helped bring the ROTC back to campus.

“I am saddened by the loss of a respected colleague,” said Dean Glenn Hubbard. “Michael was an active and integral member of the Columbia community. His dedication to the School cemented friendships that lasted for decades. He will be missed.”

Born in Prague in 1937, Adler was sent to live in Scotland at a young age (just before the German occupation of what was then Czechoslovakia). A minister’s family raised him in Edinburgh until, in 1948, he reunited with his parents in Israel. There, he spent two years on Kibbutz Merhavia. He later joined the Israeli army, serving in the elite paratroop battalion in the 1956 Sinai campaign.

Intent on industrializing the kibbutz economy, Adler attended Carnegie Mellon University and graduated with a BS in industrial engineering in 1962 and an MS in 1963. After being endowed with a Ford Scholarship, he earned a DBA from Harvard Business School in 1968. A strong believer in equality and fairness, Adler and some of his Harvard colleagues rode a bus from Boston to Alabama to join in the Selma Civil Rights March.

After a year as a faculty member at The Wharton School, Adler came to Columbia Business School in 1968 as an assistant professor in the Finance and Economics Division. He taught courses in international finance, corporate finance, and emerging markets. His research in the field of international asset pricing has had a profound impact on international financial markets and his work continues to be cited today.

Adler was a prolific and widely published author and he served as associate editor of the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Banking and Finance, and the Journal of International Financial Management and Accounting. He held visiting professorship appointments at Wharton, Stanford University, Hebrew University, Bar-Ilan University, the Stockholm School of Economics, London Business School, and the University of Cape Town. He consulted for the US Treasury, the US Department of State, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and IBM.

A memorial service will be held for Adler on October 3 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Chapel on the Columbia campus.