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Austin Falley
School of Business
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Nobel laureate to give public lecture on financial innovation

Wed, 02/06/2013

LAWRENCE — Nobel laureate and financial economist Robert Merton will present "A Next-Generation Solution for Funding Retirement: A Case Study in Design and Implementation of Financial Innovation" at 1 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Merton received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1997 for his work on the Black-Scholes-Merton model for pricing options. This model remains one of the best ways to determine the value of derivative securities, and it is considered one of the most important concepts in modern financial theory.

During his visit, Merton will meet with university officials, School of Business finance faculty, students and advisory board members. His presentation will include comments by KU alumnus David Booth.

Merton has held academic appointments at Harvard Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he currently teaches finance at the Sloan School of Management.

Merton has received numerous honorary degrees for his academic work, including honors from the University of Chicago and Harvard University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering mathematics from Columbia University, master’s degree in applied mathematics from California Institute of Technology and a doctorate in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Merton’s lecture is part of the Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series, which highlights eminent visitors and KU scholars related to the four strategic initiative themes in KU’s strategic plan, Bold Aspirations. Merton’s lecture is most closely related to the strategic theme “Harnessing information, multiplying knowledge.” Past lecturers include KU alumnus Sir Robert Worcester and Eula Bliss, author of KU’s first Common Book.

“Robert C. Merton is among the world’s most important and influential financial economists,” said Jeffrey Vitter, KU provost and executive vice chancellor. “We are delighted that he’ll be visiting KU, and we look forward to learning from him.”

The lecture is free and open to the public, but space is limited.

Merton’s autobiography and curriculum vitae are available online. The lecture will be live-streamed by KUJH-TV and available to view on the School of Business website. Media are invited to attend.



Standing just outside the Spencer Research Library, Lauren Erickson, associate director of KU Marketing Communications, spotted her favorite redhead as she lined up with other Commencement marshals before the procession began. Lauren, a proud redhead herself, loves that Big Jay also dons the same do. “I had this great vantage point to see all the grads, their families, and even Big Jay running around, hugging, smiling — I wanted to capture some of that pre-ceremony buzz.” She first became a marshal four years ago and enjoys the thrill of putting on a fancy blue gown with jaunty cap and reliving her own walk down the Hill nine years ago: “I love seeing the look on the grads’ faces as they realize how important this KU tradition is —how meaningful and significant.” It warmed Lauren’s Jayhawk heart, just as it does ours. Congrats and Rock Chalk (again) to the Class of 2015!

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