David F. Larcker received the PhD Distinguished Service Award for his approachability, excellent teaching skills, sense of fun, and even his fondness for motorcycles.
Excerpts and Highlights from Nominations
Dave Larcker sets the standard for excellence in teaching. Through his teaching, Dave inspires students to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of research in exciting and innovative ways. This can be seen in his masterful interweaving of ideas from several disciplines, including statistics and sociology. This multidisciplinary approach inspires students to pursue innovation over convention and to challenge the ideas that others simply take for granted.
The pursuit of innovation is fostered by Dave’s ability to transform complex and nuanced ideas into smaller and digestible building blocks of knowledge. Together, these building blocks form the foundation for a rigorous and holistic approach to learning and research. Dave draws insights from the frontier of academic research, continually adapting his classes to the development of new ideas. For example, he routinely goes beyond the standard treatment of econometric textbooks, challenging his students to identify instances in which simplifying assumptions fail to hold and inspiring us to discover creative and technically rigorous approaches to problem solving. Armed with these insights, his students are not only well prepared to excel within our own respective fields; we are also able and eager to contribute insights to the broader academic community.
One only has to briefly observe Dave in the classroom to realize that he has a sincere love for teaching. Dave possesses an infectious enthusiasm that cultivates a genuine thirst for learning and intellectual development. He encourages questions by pushing students to pinpoint the sources of confusion and misunderstanding. There is no question that is too simple to merit Dave’s full attention. To foster discussions, he deftly intertwines encouragement with challenging questions. In short, Dave is the consummate professional and should be rewarded for his excellence in teaching.
On Advising and Research
William Penn once wrote, “A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” While this quote is intended to define friendships, it applies equally well to the description of an exceptional advisor. As an advisor and friend, Dave Larcker embodies all of these qualities. Dave aligns his priorities with the welfare of his students and works tirelessly to make himself available at all times. He encourages us to drop by his office to seek advice, garner assistance, and exchange ideas. With an office door that is almost always open, his open-door approach to advising is true both figuratively and literally. As a matter of emphasis, Dave works hard to connect with his students in a meaningful way. Dave is an expert in providing encouragement when students become wary, perspective when problems appear insurmountable, and meaningful praise when students succeed. As an advocate of the students, he selflessly ensures that students have the resources that we need to grow as aspiring academics. Through his advising, Dave instills a sense of belonging and acceptance; he opens the doors to interdisciplinary collaborations from researchers across multiple fields; and provides a friend that each of us can turn to no matter the circumstance.
Dave instills a sense of pride and community among PhD students and professors both within our department and within the greater Stanford GSB community. This is achieved through a multidisciplinary approach to research and teaching, a dedication to fair and balanced dialogue regarding new and controversial ideas, and a boarder professional agenda focused on the advancement of knowledge and understanding.
Dave selflessly shares his time, expertise, and passion for research with the entire Stanford GSB community. He places the needs of his students above his own, taking pride in the development and success of his current and former students. He works tirelessly to ensure that all students possess a sense of belonging within our department. When students become overwhelmed by the rigor of the PhD program, Dave helps us to refocus and gain perspective on our goals. To prepare us for the demands of our profession, Dave speaks candidly about both our strengths and weakness — trumpeting the former and providing thoughtful feedback and suggestions regarding the latter.
Dave serves as the director of the Corporate Governance Research Program, which fosters collaboration across multiple fields including statistics, finance, computer science, economics, and law. Regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on executive compensation and corporate governance, Dave’s influence and expertise extends well beyond traditional areas of accounting research. His efforts epitomize the contribution and dedication that the Distinguished Service Award is meant to recognize. We can ask that Dave please accept our gratitude for his contribution and our congratulations on receiving this honor.