Fort Worth, Texas -- At the podium, in the front of the lecture hall, is where Stanley “Stan” Block impacted the lives of students for 45 years. “His life was wrapped up in teaching,” said Larry Lockwood, the Dr. Stan Block Endowed Chair in Finance and faculty adviser for the Educational Investment Fund at TCU. “He loved to have an influence on the students. He expected a lot from them, but they responded very favorably to that because of how engaged he was with their lives and careers.” Block taught finance at Texas Christian University for more than four decades. His genius in the field left an impact on students and the world of finance and education. He wrote numerous bestselling textbooks, selling over a million copies worldwide. “He truly was brilliant,” said Block’s wife, Cathy. Block was known as the “Iron Man” in academia, the Cal Ripken of the academic profession, said David Tice, one of Block’s former students. Like Ripken, who played in every baseball game for more than 16 years, Block never missed a class or a meeting and was always the first one at the office unless there was a family event. Block died Sunday at 81. He was a teacher, financial expert, avid runner and baseball lover. But the contributions he made in the field of finance will continue to impact students and the finance world for years to come. “His teaching and influence went well beyond TCU. It went all over the world,” Lockwood said. Born in Corpus Christi, on Oct. 4, 1939, Block began teaching at TCU in 1967 after receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1961, an MBA from Cornell University in 1964 and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1967. He was “Mr. TCU,” said Block’s son, Randall. In 1973, he developed the nation’s first student-managed investment portfolio known as the Educational Investment Fund. The fund is still operating. Lockwood, who co-advised with Block on the investment portfolio from 1994 until Block retired in 2011, said it was revolutionary because it gave students real-world training and knowledge in the field of finance. “For students to have taken classes from a legend, for me to have worked with him, was an incredibly fortunate thing,” Lockwood said. More than 100 universities have requested and received copies of the Educational Investment Fund’s operation manuals and emulated the fund. More than 1,000 alumni have gone through the program, and it has paid out millions to its two beneficiaries, TCU and the department of ophthalmology at the Baylor College of Medicine. Block was a “two-pronged” person, Cathy said. He loved his family and his career. “His teaching didn’t stop when the students stopped taking his class, he really cared about the students and demanded a lot of himself and of the students,” Lockwood said. Block saw his students all the way through their careers. Many of Block’s students attribute their professional success to Block. A lot have gone on to work on Wall Street and at other leading financial institutions. “His wisdom led a lot of finance students around the world,” said Tice, who found his passion for finance because of Block’s teaching. Daughter Michelle Goldsmith said she was proud of her dad and all of his accomplishments. “But he was proudest of his family,” she said. “He never wanted attention for his successes, but he always acknowledged and was so happy for all of our successes.” Goldsmith and Block shared their love of teaching, family and long-distance running. An avid runner, he would train even if it was 100 degrees outside. He won 45 first-place ribbons for his age group at races. In 2006 he was the highest point series winner for the Fort Worth Running Club. At 55, he ran the New York Marathon. When he wasn’t running down the Trinity Trails or lecturing in Dan Rogers Hall in the Neeley School of Business, Block was watching a baseball game. An “encyclopedic expert” on the game, he knew all the statistics on current players and those from 100 years ago, Randy said. He collected baseball memorabilia and never missed a chance to cheer on his favorite teams. He followed the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers. Mauricio Rodriguez, chair of the Department of Finance at TCU, called him “a hall of fame, Iron Man professor.” He was known to be constantly working hard at TCU. On his 60th birthday, Rodriguez, along with other colleagues, gave Block an Iron Man Cal Ripken card, acknowledging how his work ethic was a great inspiration. “Stan led by example, particularly his example of a great work ethic,” Rodriguez said. Tice said Block taught persistence. “He wanted to instill in his students a love for excellence and to identify with each student their talents,” Cathy said. In 2002, Block was the first professor to hold the Dr. Stan Block Endowed Chair in Finance, the only chair ever created by students to honor a professor in TCU’s history. When Block was awarded the chair, 90 students attended the ceremony to make comments on their favorite memory with their professor. “To hear someone so esteemed tell you that your dreams are possible is such a massive gift that has meant so much to me,” J.P. Millsap, one of Block’s students, said at the ceremony. In 2006, he won the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar. Block served as Chairman of the Finance Department and as interim dean of the Neeley School of Business on two occasions. Block loved holding hands with Cathy, spending time with his four grandchildren, catching a movie or pulling a prank. Randy said he was always trying to come up with a new dance move or a new prank, anything to make people laugh. “I had someone tell me today, that his intellectual passion centered on TCU and the world of finance, and his total heart centered on his family,” Cathy said. “Family was everything to my husband.” Block is survived by his wife and fellow TCU professor, Cathy Block; his children, Michelle Goldsmith and Randy and Caroline Block; his grandchildren, Paige and Reid Goldsmith and Maggie and William Block; his sister and brother-in-law, Rosalyn and Maury Wolfson; and his sister-in-law and mother-in-law Wanda and Jo Ann Zinke. TCU is holding an open memorial service in Block’s honor 8:30 a.m. July 31 in the Neeley School of Business Shaddock Auditorium.
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