PHILADELPHIA, February 17, 2022—Judd B. Kessler has been named the inaugural Howard Marks Endowed Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The professorship, which has been generously funded by Howard S. Marks, W’67, is dedicated to Wharton faculty in the field of behavioral economics and behavioral investing.
Kessler, a professor within Wharton’s Business Economics and Public Policy Department, joined the School in 2011. His research uses a combination of laboratory and field experiments to answer questions in public economics, behavioral economics, and market design. Kessler investigates the economic and psychological forces that motivate individuals to contribute to public goods, with applications including organ donation, worker effort, and charitable giving. He was awarded the Vernon L. Smith Ascending Scholar Prize in 2021, and his research has appeared in journals including the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Management Science.
“As a scholar and specialist in experimental economics and market design innovation, Judd embodies Wharton’s commitment to preparing the next generation of great business leaders with the tools to translate theory into practice and drive meaningful change,” says Wharton School Dean Erika James. “Howard’s generosity furthers this vision and is an investment in the faculty leaders who will guide Wharton students in this journey. We are sincerely grateful for his longstanding partnership with the School and the University, and for his support which elevates the work of such exceptional faculty.”
A loyal and leading alumnus, Marks has been actively involved with the University for three decades, combining his philanthropy with dedicated service. He served as a member of Wharton’s Undergraduate Executive Board, remains an emeritus trustee of the University, and chaired Penn’s Investment Board in the economically tumultuous years between 2000 and 2010, in addition to his membership on other trustee committees.
“The behavioral aspects of economics and investing are something I’m most interested in, and I think understanding them often makes the difference between average participants and those who are exceptional,” says Marks. “I am thrilled that this professorship will support such an important area of study, ensuring that today’s students understand and explore the intersection of behavior and business in the global marketplace, and advancing knowledge and outcomes in industry and community.”
In addition to this newly established professorship, Marks has contributed to people and programs across the University, including the Howard Marks Professorship for faculty in economic history, currently held by Marc Flandreau, as well as the Howard Marks Endowed Scholarship, which supports diverse undergraduate students residing in Los Angeles or Southern California. He established the Howard Marks Investor Speaker Series at Wharton to bring the insights of investors to campus for the undergraduate and MBA communities. He recently endowed the Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing at Penn Arts & Sciences, a University-wide resource dedicated to teaching writing and creating a community of writers across Penn’s undergraduate schools.
Marks has led a career in finance and is the co-founder and co-chair of Oaktree Capital Management. He is an accomplished writer and the author of two books: The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor and Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side. He earned his undergraduate degree in finance cum laude from the Wharton School in 1967, and his MBA in accounting and marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he received the George Hay Brown Prize. He is a CFA® charterholder. Marks is a trustee and a member of the Investment Committee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a member of the Investment Committee of the Royal Drawing School, and a Professor of Practice at King’s Business School (both in London). He serves on the Shanghai International Financial Advisory Council and the Advisory Board of Duke Kunshan University.
About the Wharton School
Founded in 1881 as the world’s first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is shaping the future of business by incubating ideas, driving insights, and creating leaders who change the world. With a faculty of more than 235 renowned professors, Wharton has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students. Each year 13,000 professionals from around the world advance their careers through Wharton Executive Education’s individual, company-customized, and online programs. More than 100,000 Wharton alumni form a powerful global network of leaders who transform business every day. For more information, visit www.wharton.upenn.edu.