In memoriam: Frank Reilly, the Martin J. Gillen Dean Emeritus

Author: Carol Elliott

Frank Reilly

Frank K. Reilly, the Martin J. Gillen Dean Emeritus and Bernard J. Hank Professor of Finance Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, died Thursday (Sept. 23). He was 85.

A 1957 Notre Dame graduate, Reilly served as dean from 1981 to 1987 and as the Bernard J. Hank Professor of Finance from 1987 to 2015. He was an expert in security analysis and capital markets, and received numerous honors and teaching awards during his career, including the Notre Dame Faculty Award. He wrote several books and was inducted as a fellow of the Financial Management Association in its inaugural group. Reilly earned an MBA from Northwestern University and an MBA and doctorate from the University of Chicago.

“Frank was an inspiration to me, personally and professionally,” said Martijn Cremers, current Mendoza dean and Bernard J. Hank Professor of Finance. “He was devoted to research excellence, teaching innovation and helping students prepare for their careers by emphasizing their intellectual, social and moral formation. He remained active with scholarship and with engaging our students even up to a week ago. His commitment to Mendoza’s mission was unswerving.”

As dean, Reilly focused on developing the college’s research interests and elevating the MBA program by bolstering faculty and research. He instituted innovative programs such as the accelerated one-year MBA program, the Executive MBA program and additional executive development programs that forged alliances between the business community and academia and helped to expose students to real-life situations.

“Frank Reilly responded to Father Ted Hesburgh’s invitation to return to his alma mater to lead the business school toward a research culture of rigor and relevance,” said Carolyn Y. Woo, who served as dean of Mendoza from 1997 to 2011. “Frank not only did that, but he established industry leadership in the preparation of generations of students for investment analyses. Everyone he took on, he did with excellence, heart and graciousness. Many of us stood on Frank’s shoulders.”

“Cultural changes are always one of the most difficult goals to achieve,” said Roger D. Huang, professor of global investment management, who was Mendoza’s dean from 2012 to 2018. “When Frank became dean, he inspired the college to work toward excellence in research and teaching, which he himself exemplified. In so doing, he became a testament to what Father Hesburgh taught us: Mediocrity is not the way to honor the Blessed Mother.”

Reilly was instrumental in creating Mendoza’s signature Applied Investment Management (AIM) course along with John Affleck-Graves, former Notre Dame executive vice president and finance professor, and Scott Malpass, former Notre Dame chief investment officer and assistant finance professor.

“Frank’s successes as a scholar and administrator were attributable to both his keen wit and many hours of devotion to his calling,” said Bill Nichols, accountancy professor emeritus. “However, Frank never missed Sunday afternoon gatherings with his family — his wife, Therese, and their children. I don’t think anyone at the college worked longer hours, but his family was always his top priority.”

Reilly’s wife, Therese, passed away in 2015; he is survived by their four children, Therese Bourke (Denise Zoeterman) Reilly, Frank K. (Charlotte) Reilly III, Clarence R. (Michelle) Reilly II and Edgar Bourke (Lisa) Reilly, and numerous grandchildren.

Arrangements are pending.