Stefan Hyman Robock, a Columbia University faculty member for nearly 20 years and the Robert D. Calkins Professor Emeritus of International Business at Columbia Business School, died August 1 at age 97.
Before joining Columbia in 1967, Robock worked for the US government, including serving as an air intelligence officer in the US Navy in Washington, Brazil, Morocco, and Japan during World War II and a five-year term (1949-54) as chief economist of the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville. Robock also worked at the Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Committee for Economic Development in New York City before beginning his academic career in 1960. He was one of the founders of the field of international business and served as director of Indiana University’s international business program from 1960-67.
After leaving Columbia in 1985, Robock served as visiting professor at China’s first management program (Beijing Management Institute) and at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. He also served as a visiting professor at the International Management Center in Budapest, Hungary, in 1992 and received honorary degrees from Brazil’s University of Recife in 1956 and the University of Deusto in San Sebastian, Spain, in 1974. Columbia University also honored Robock in 2009 with the establishment of the Stefan H. Robock Professorship in Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School.
Robock was born in 1915 in Redgranite, Wisconsin. The son of Ukranian Jewish immigrants, he was the first person in his family to graduate from a university. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1938, he attended Harvard University and received a master’s degree in 1941 and PhD in 1948, both in economics.
Robock is survived by his wife, Hanne Miree Robock; three children from his first marriage to Shirley Bernstein: Alan Robock and wife Sherri West; Jerry Robock ’05 (EMBA) and wife Stephanie Wexler-Robock; and Lisa Shaffer and husband Steve Bartram; grandchildren Zachary Robock, Maxwell Robock, Allison Shaffer, Brian West, Daniel West, Briana Bartram, Lauren Bartram, Emily Bartram; and great-grandson Daniel Gregory West.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Columbia Business School’s Stefan H. Robock International Business Scholarship Fund, established by Robock’s friends and family in 2005 to celebrate his 90th birthday. The Robock Scholarship Fund provides need-based financial aid to outstanding MBA students, preferably from China or elsewhere in the developing world. For more information, please contact Lisa Yeh at ly2019columbia.edu or 212-854-5359.
Gifts may also be made to the Leonard I. and Stefan H. Robock Memorial Fund at the University of Wisconsin. Memorials can be made payable to the UW Foundation-Robock Meteorology Fund and mailed to US Bank Lockbox 78807, Milwaukee, WI, 53278. This fund supports the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including an annual Robock Lecture.