Mendoza School of Business

In Memoriam: Frank Reilly

Published: September 24, 2021 / Author: Carol Elliott



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Frank K. Reilly, Martin J. Gillen Dean Emeritus and Bernard J. Hank Professor of Finance Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, died Thursday (Sept. 23). He was 85.

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Frank Reilly

Reilly (BBA ’57) served as dean from 1981 to 1987 and as the Bernard J. Hank Professor of Finance from 1987 to 2015. He was an expert in security analysis, capital markets, credit analysis and security market indexes, and taught courses at Notre Dame in applied investment management, capital budgeting, fixed income analysis, and investments, among others.

Reilly received numerous honors and teaching awards during his career, including the University of Notre Dame Faculty Award (1999), which is the highest award given to faculty members; the Outstanding Teacher Award given by the MBA Class of 2004; the BP Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award (2002); and the Daniel J. Forrestal III Leadership Award for Professional Ethics and Standards of Investment Practice, given by the CFA Institute.

Reilly was inducted as a fellow of the Financial Management Association in its inaugural group (2000). He authored several books including “Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management” and “Investments.” He earned an MBA from Northwestern University and an MBA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

“Frank was an inspiration to me, personally and professionally,” said Martijn Cremers, current Mendoza dean and Bernard J. Hank Professor of Finance. “He was devoted to research excellence, teaching innovation and helping students prepare for their careers by emphasizing their intellectual, social and moral formation. He remained active with scholarship and with engaging our students even up to a week ago. His commitment to Mendoza’s mission was unswerving.”

As dean, Reilly focused on developing the College’s research interests and elevating the MBA program by bolstering faculty and research. He instituted innovative programs such as the accelerated one-year MBA program and launched the Executive MBA program, which was designed to allow mid- and upper-level executives to earn a professional degree while maintaining full-time employment. Out of his belief that “lifelong learning is essential,” Reilly established additional executive development programs during his tenure, which forged alliances between the business community and academia and helped to expose students to real-life situations.

“Frank Reilly responded to Father Ted Hesburgh ‘s invitation to return to his alma mater to lead the business school toward a research culture of rigor and relevance,” said Carolyn Y. Woo, who served as dean of Mendoza from 1997 to 2011. “Frank not only did that, but he established industry leadership in the preparation of generations of students for investment analyses. Everyone he took on, he did with excellence, heart and graciousness. Many of us stood on Frank’s shoulders.”

“Cultural changes are always one of the most difficult goals to achieve,” said Roger D. Huang, Professor of Global Investment Management, who was Mendoza’s dean from 2012 to 2018. “When Frank became dean, he inspired the College to work toward excellence in research and teaching, which he himself exemplified. In so doing, he became a testament to what Father Hesburgh taught us: Mediocrity is not the way to honor the Blessed Mother.”

Reilly was instrumental in creating Mendoza’s Applied Investment Management (AIM) course along with John Affleck-Graves, former Notre Dame executive vice president and finance professor, and Scott Malpass, former Notre Dame chief investment officer and assistant finance professor. AIM continues today as an innovative, hands-on course offered in the undergraduate and MBA programs that provides students the opportunity to act as stock analysts and portfolio managers using a percentage of the University’s endowment.

“Frank was one of those rare people who, despite his immense success and national reputation, was accessible to everyone and he loved people,” said Malpass. “He made all of his students feel important and was constantly challenging them to achieve their best, but was also there in tougher moments to counsel them and support them. He was a tremendous friend to me for over three decades and I will always cherish the work we did together in the classroom and his loyal friendship.”

“Frank’s successes as a scholar and administrator were attributable to both his keen wit and many hours of devotion to his calling,” said Bill Nichols, accountancy professor emeritus. “However, Frank never missed Sunday afternoon gatherings with his family — his wife Therese and their children. I don’t think anyone at the College worked longer hours, but his family was always his top priority.”

Reilly’s wife, Therese, passed away in 2015; he is survived by their four children, Therese Bourke (Denise Zoeterman) Reilly, Frank K. (Charlotte) Reilly III, Clarence R. (Michelle) Reilly II and Edgar Bourke (Lisa) Reilly, and numerous grandchildren.

The viewing will take place from 4-8 p.m. October 7 (Thursday) at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 North Bendix Dr., South Bend, Indiana. The funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. October 8 (Friday) in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the University of Notre Dame campus.

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