As Dean, Warga Led the College through Transformation Period,
Achieving International Reach and Recognition
Arthur D. Warga, the Judge James A. Elkins Professor of Finance and former dean of the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011, at the age of 58, after a lengthy and valiant battle with brain cancer.
Warga led UH Bauer through a transformative decade as dean from 2001 until early March 2011, when he stepped down from the position. He took on the role shortly after AIM Investments co-founder Charles T. “Ted” Bauer gave the college $40 million, which coupled with his leadership, brought in additional faculty and expanded programming and led to a strong relationship with the local business community along with national rankings and recognition.
“The accomplishments of Prof. Warga’s life and the grace with which he handled challenges are truly an inspiration — from his efforts to raise the profile of the Bauer College of Business to battling cancer — and he handled all this with professionalism and poise,” said UH System Chancellor and UH President Renu Khator.
Warga joined the University of Houston in 1997 as the Judge James A. Elkins Endowed Chair of Finance and Banking, and in 2001 was appointed to serve as the dean of Bauer College.
He was founder and director of the Fixed Income Research Program, which provides research databases on bond pricing to major universities around the world as well as to the Board of Governors of Federal Reserve System and regional banks. Warga conducted studies for the U.S. Treasury Department, Congressional Budget Office, Office of Housing and Urban Development and General Accounting Office, and served as a consultant to major corporations including Citigroup, General Dynamics, UBS, Standard and Poor’s and Heartland Mutual Funds. His research was widely published and the focus of several articles in The Wall Street Journal, Bond Buyer, The Economist, and Dow Jones Newswire.
In addition to his academic research contributions, Warga was recognized for his work in the classroom with the MidCon Teaching Excellence Award, given to honor an outstanding teacher in Bauer College’s Executive MBA program. He taught Corporate Finance, Fixed Income Security Analysis and doctoral seminars.
Prior to coming to UH Bauer, he served on a number of faculties, including the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University, where he directed the doctoral program in finance. Originally from Brookline, Mass., Warga received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Brown University in 1975. He earned his master’s degree in mathematics in 1977 and Ph.D. in financial economics in 1980 from the University of Michigan.
“I met Arthur in 1997 when he joined the finance department as my colleague. Over the years he became a co-author, a dean, a mentor and a close friend. Under his leadership the Bauer College made significant strides in the areas of faculty research, innovative programs, student success and national rankings. He will be dearly missed by his colleagues, former students, friends and those who worked for him,” said Interim Dean Latha Ramchand.
At Warga’s request, there will be no funeral service, but his family is planning a memorial service for a later date. Additionally, the family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations in Warga’s memory be made to either The Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation or the University of Houston Bauer College of Business.
Friends and Colleagues Remember Arthur Warga
- “We have lost a valuable colleague and great friend. He will be greatly missed.”
- Michael J. Cemo (BS ’68), Michael J Cemo Interests
Former Regent UH System
- “Arthur knew excellence and pursued it boldly. Christopher Wren’s memorial at St. Paul’s in London is an inscription that says ‘if you seek his memorial, look around you.’ I think the same is true for Arthur. If you look around our College, you see Arthur’s memorial — in the quality of the faculty, in the quality of student services, in the new buildings and student spaces, and in the sense that destiny is on our side and anything is possible.”
- Edward A. Blair, Ph.D., Professor and Chairperson, Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship
- “The Bauer College of Business and the University of Houston have lost an internationally prominent scholar and a great leader. The Bauer College made great strides under Arthur’s visionary leadership; with his deep commitment to research excellence and corporate and social relevance, Arthur took the Bauer College to a whole new level. His imprint will be seen for a long time in Bauer’s top-quality faculty, and world class centers of excellence and programs. We will miss him deeply.”
- Praveen Kumar, Ph.D., El Paso Corporation – JP Morgan Chase Bank Professor Chair, Department of Finance Executive Director, Global Energy Management Institute
- “Arthur set out to build a business school where he would be proud to be a faculty member, and he achieved that. We will miss him greatly as a colleague. His imprint as a dean will be with us for a long time to come. The momentum he created in building human talent, instructional programs and physical facilities continues to advance the Bauer College toward being recognized as a premier public business school.”
– Thomas George, Ph.D., C. T. Bauer Professor of Finance, Department of Finance
Director, AIM Center for Investment Management
- “Arthur left many good works behind him, but I think his most important legacy is the Bauer Honors Program. Ten years ago, he made a commitment to Honors education and gave us the faculty and resources to build the premier business Honors program in the nation. I remember our first conversation about Honors, in which he said that he wanted the best honors program, not just on this campus, but in the nation. Bauer Honors has grown from 75 to 240 students, about 25 percent of the Honors College.”
– Everette S. Gardner Jr., Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Decision & Information Sciences
- “Arthur Warga was my Ph.D. adviser at Houston. I have known Arthur since 1997; in fact, I was Arthur’s first Ph.D. finance student at Bauer, having graduated in 1999. Arthur was very kind, supportive, encouraging and always ready to help. He always inquired of my and my family’s welfare each time I called and wrote to him, which was until recently. I owe him for giving me a head start in my academic career. Our paper published in the Journal of Fixed Income (2002) on the microstructure of corporate bond markets received a lot of recognition, including a citation in the report submitted to the Senate Banking Committee in 2004. He was a wonderful and magnanimous person at heart, and his void will be hard to fill. My heartfelt prayers are with him and his family.”
– Madhu Kalimipalli (Ph.D. Finance ’99)
- “Although many of us associated with the Bauer College of Business will remember Arthur for his successful decade as our Dean, it is important to also recognize that he was a well-established, world class scholar before accepting this administrative position. Arthur’s passion and persistence truly is commendable. His vision to elevate our college pulled him from his position as a chaired professor and placed him in a challenging, dynamic new role.
Arthur aspired to build a college that our students, faculty, and alumni could be proud of and without his tireless efforts, we could not have achieved our successes to date. The expectations he held for himself and others were high and his commitment to greatness was strong. Through these values, Arthur’s leadership raised the Bauer College to the top of the business school rankings and drastically improved its international reputation. In addition, I foresee his leadership having an impact for years to come.
Arthur will forever be one of the bravest people I have ever known. How many people, when faced with the same obstacles, continue to pursue their goals and achieve as much as Arthur? He is an inspiration to us all. We all benefited from his creativity, intellect, and tireless passion. I will forever miss my loyal friend.”
- Michael Ahearne, Ph.D., Professor – C. T. Bauer Chair in Marketing
Executive Director, Sales Excellence Institute
- “Arthur was a great colleague and friend who will be missed. He was graced with intelligence, wit and the warmth of the most amiable person. His wonderful spirit will always lighten my heart and the hearts of all who knew him. Farewell to a man who was a gentle and gentile giant, both in the academy and in life.”
-Ronald Johnson, Ph.D., Dean – Jesse H. Jones School of Business, TSU
Member, Cougar Investment Fund Board of Managers