Smith School Adds Endowed Chair in Financial History
A Conversation with Henry Kaufman
Sept. 13 at 6:15 p.m.
Tyser Auditorium, Van Munching Hall
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Sept. 5, 2017) — The Wall Street legend behind a new endowed chair in financial history will speak on Sept. 13, 2017, at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Henry Kaufman, a former Salomon Brothers executive who founded his own economic and financial consulting firm in 1988, established the Henry Kaufman Chair in Financial History Endowment to protect the status of history research and education at the Smith School for decades to come.
The endowed chair will expand a previous gift from the Henry & Elaine Kaufman Foundation that established the Henry Kaufman Fellowship Program at the Smith School’s Center for Financial Policy in 2010.
As a refugee who fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1937, Kaufman knows firsthand what can go wrong when people neglect lessons of the past.
“I realized that misbehavior in financial markets and misbehavior by business can lead not only to economic and financial problems, but it can also induce political change that would endanger a democracy — which it did in Germany,” Kaufman says.
The same respect for history has guided his Wall Street career, earning him a reputation as “Dr. Doom” for his dire warnings when market scales tip toward excess.
“You reach a level of euphoria at times, thinking this time is different and the past will never repeat itself,” Kaufman says.
During his campus visit, Kaufman will discuss his 2017 book, Tectonic Shifts in Financial Markets: People, Policies, and Institutions.
“He has done more to support the teaching of business and financial history than probably any American,” says David Sicilia, an inaugural Kaufman Fellow who now holds the endowed Kaufman chair. “His predictions were so listened to that he could move Wall Street by just making a pronouncement.”
Sicilia, an affiliate faculty member at the Smith School and an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Department of History, will moderate the discussion with Kaufman. Although the endowed professorship is new, the two scholars have a history of collaboration. Among other things, Sicilia provided consulting services on Kaufman’s latest book and two previous books.
“Over the years I feel like I’ve gotten more than the equivalent of another graduate degree in financial history by just talking with him and listening to his observations,” Sicilia says.
Kaufman previously established endowed chairs at institutions in New York and Israel. He says he made the new gift to the Smith School in large part because he trusts Sicilia to carry his vision forward. “I’ve come to appreciate his skills and knowledge in the area of business and financial history,” Kaufman says.
The discussion will start at 6:15 p.m. at Tyser Auditorium in Van Munching Hall.