Dr. Morris Mendelson, professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, died on March 16, 2008, at the age of 85.
Through 50 years of teaching at Wharton, he became internationally recognized in the field of finance, particularly in market structure. He was a pioneer in proposing automation of the trading on exchanges, in particular, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Dr. Mendelson was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada in 1922 and immigrated to the US in 1946. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 1950, and joined the Wharton faculty in 1961 after teaching at MIT, Harvard, Cornell and Penn State. He retired in 1994, but continued to teach.
In 1975, together with colleagues Junius Peake and R.T. Williams Jr., he proposed replacing the auditory trading system of the NYSE with a fully electronic auction market at Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hearings. This revolutionary idea was the catalyst that eventually led to a complete restructuring of the NYSE.
Dr. Mendelson served as a consultant to the SEC and the Justice Department, as well as the Stock Exchanges in Japan, Canada, France (Paris Bourse), Lithuania, Russia and Switzerland.
In addition, Dr. Mendelson was a member of the International Futures and Commodity Institute in Geneva and the International Faculty for Corporate and Capital Market Law since its founding in 1975. He served as an arbitrator for the National Futures Association and as president of the International Global Interdependence Center in 1996.
In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Mendelson was very active in campus governance. He served many years on the Faculty Senate’s Committee on the Faculty, served as president of the Board of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and also served on the board of the Faculty Club, now known as the University Club at Penn.
Upon his retirement from the executive board of the AAUP, the board commented that, “His knowledge of the University and the Faculty Senate was invaluable in problem solving and strategy development. His experience in University affairs contributed significantly to building networks to resolve problems. We are grateful for his decades-long dedication to the ideals of shared governance.”
Dr. Mendelson is survived by his daughter, Jacqueline; his son, Bruce; and two grandchildren, Max and Kansas.