George Parker Honored with 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor of 33 years is "amazingly gifted at making (finance) accessible to everyone from the strongest quant jock to the serious poet."

June 01, 2006

George Parker, the Dean Witter Professor of Finance and Management, Emeritus, who has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business for 33 years, was honored with the 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award.

Nominations from students communicated a deep sense of respect for Parker’ s ability to inspire, teach, and make learning enjoyable. In the words of one student: “He was amazing at not making anyone feel intimidated”¦, and everyone felt comfortable participating. We all laughed frequently every class and really enjoyed being there.”¦ He was definitely my favorite professor.”

“[His corporate finance] course was one of the most fun courses I have taken,” shared one student. Another wrote: “[He] was amazingly gifted at making [this subject] accessible to everyone, from the strongest quant jock to the serious poet. Although I had him in an 8 a.m. class”¦, I looked forward to his class every day.”

In accepting the Distinguished Teaching Award at a recent noontime ceremony, Parker acknowledged the support of wife, Joan, “who was impressed,” said Parker, “but she said I still have to take out the trash.” Parker also expressed his gratitude for his role models: the teachers he had throughout many years as well as colleague James Van Horne, a two-time winner of the Distinguished Teaching Award whom Parker considers “a master teacher in every regard.”

Parker has a unique perspective on the Stanford Business School as an MBA and PhD alumnus. Since joining the faculty in 1973 to teach and direct the Sloan Master’ s Program, he also has overseen the School’ s executive education program and served as senior associate dean for academic affairs and director of the MBA Program. “I’ ve done everything there is to do here except serve as dean and clip the flowers,” quipped Parker in an interview. Three years ago, he was honored with the Robert T. Davis Award presented by the faculty to a colleague in recognition of lifetime service to the Business School.

He also has served the greater Stanford University community in countless roles, including involvement in the Faculty Senate and on various selection committees. Most recently, Parker, an avid horseman, was appointed to head the advisory council of the Stanford Barn when Leland Stanford’s Victorian horse barn was revamped recently.

“If you’re lucky enough to teach at Stanford, and you’re lucky enough to teach finance, and you’re lucky enough to have the kinds of good students I’ve had at Stanford all these years, it’s pretty darn easy to like your work,” Parker said.

The Distinguished Teaching Award has been presented annually since 1982 by the MBA student Academic Committee. This year the committee received 300 nominations for 66 different faculty members.

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