Fenster Visiting Professor of Business Administration Steven R. Fenster '63 died Thrusday morning of pancreatic cancer. He was 52.
Business School professor interviewed yesterday described Fenster, who had taught a corporate restructuring course in the school's finance department since 1991, as an enthusiastic and popular instructor.
"I know from conversations from students that there was an enormous respect for his background and expertise," said Schiff Professor of Investment Banking Samuel L. Hayes III.
"He was a very vigorous guy, very much engaged in the education process," said Casserly Professor of Business Administration William E. Fruhan.
With the help of Adjunct Professor of Business Administration Ronald W. Moore, Fenster developed his course in corporate restructuring in 1991, after colleagues who learned he had cancer endowed the Fenster professorship at the Business School.
"[Fenster] had a real interest in taking his background and expertise and weaving it into a finance curriculum which would outlive him," Hayes said. "He succeeded. The course is now an established part of second year level advanced offerings."
Fenster helped bridge the gap between real-world situations and the more theoretical focus of the Business School, professors said.
"I think we'll miss his sophisticated yet real-life perspective on financial market developments," Hayes said. "He understood the financial underpinnings which preoccupy many academics, but he was adept at accepting or rejecting those concepts in light of his knowledge of how the real world works."
Other professors learned a great deal from Fenster's experience in the corporate world, Fruhan said.
"[Fenster] was very much a teacher of teachers," Fruhan said. "He taught us a lot about finance, being a practitioner and regularly involved in financial activities.
A native Queen, N.Y., Fenster graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1963. Upon graduation, he studied econometrics and economic policy for a year on a Fulbright scholarship in the Netherlands.
After earning an MBA from the Business School in 1966, Fenster worked for then-Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara before going on to head the financial restructuring group and the mergers and acquisitions group at Lehman Brothers.
After leaving Lehman Brothers in 1984, Fenster taught at the Business School for two years.
He then worked as a consultant at Chase Manhattan Corporation and served as managing director at Dillon, Read & Co.
Fenster is survived by his wife Kerin, his two children, his mother and his sister.