Christopher R. Blake, Ph.D., a highly accomplished finance professor in the Fordham Schools of Business who was known among students as a kind, attentive and accessible teacher, died on Dec. 19 after an illness. He was 62.
“Dr. Blake was a dear friend and a most distinguished colleague. I mourn his passing deeply and commend his soul to God,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
Blake, the University’s Joseph Keating, S.J., Distinguished Professor of Finance, had taught at Fordham since 1991, when he joined the University as a finance instructor. In that time he earned a reputation for both a down-to-earth demeanor and formidable intellect, as well as warmth and optimism that endeared him to colleagues and students alike.
“He was a very caring and involved professor who always wanted the best for the students,” said Kevin Amerio, GBA ’10, a financial advisor at UBS who took one of Blake’s classes. “He was very encouraging. He was just a wonderful man.”
Blake savored life—he traveled widely, enjoyed preparing fine food (Thai food, according to his website), and always had a ready smile and an upbeat attitude, said Donna Rapaccioli, Ph.D., dean of the Gabelli School of Business.
“I will miss him a great deal, as will his many colleagues,” she said.
Blake had a particular knack for helping students understand quantitative analysis, an area in that was his strength, Rapaccioli said. He built an impressive record of research; a former manuscript editor for The Journal of Finance, Blake frequently had articles published in top journals including The Journal of Banking and Finance, The Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, and The Journal of Financial Intermediation.
In addition, he was co-developer of The Investment Portfolio, a Windows-based portfolio management software package, and a consultant whose clients included the government of Saudi Arabia, Orange & Rockland Utilities, John Wiley & Sons, Capital Management Associates, the Nassau Group and the Society of Actuaries.
Blake earned his undergraduate degree from William Paterson College and earned master’s degrees in business administration and philosophy, as well as his doctorate in finance, from New York University. He served part-time on the NYU faculty and continued to work with his colleagues there after coming to Fordham, providing a steady link between the two universities, Rapaccioli said.
Blake took particular pride in an innovative, popular graduate-level course in equity analysis that featured guest appearances by Wall Street’s top analysts, portfolio managers and equity strategists over the past 10 years.
“He really looked forward every year to the class. I think it was something that he felt was providing a great service to the students,” said Gerold F. L. Klauer, FCRH ’64, managing director at Green Eagle Capital. He and John Tognino, PCS ’75, originally conceived the idea for the course when both were serving on the University’s Board of Trustees (Tognino as chairman).
“He was a very dedicated teacher [and]professor who constantly strove to excel in everything that he did and to see that his students did as well,” said Klauer, who has continued to help with the course and bring in guest speakers.
Blake had a demeanor that was almost priestly, and would stay late to help students who were struggling a bit, said Charles Menges, GSB ’64, principal with Bernstein Global Wealth Management, who also helped organize the equity analysis class and brought in speakers.
“He was a very regular person,” Menges said. “A good and caring person.”
According to Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home in Wayne, N.J., where Blake lived, he is survived by his wife, Lilo Blake; his stepson Rudy Riepl and his wife, Tina, of Longmont, Colo.; his stepdaughter Anita Innis, of Los Angeles; his brother Andy Blake and his wife, Kiki, of Rochester, N.Y.; his brother Ben Blake and his wife, Leena, of Cary, N.C.; and three nephews, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.