Marks Chair Will Cover Economic History

June 1, 2013

Edmund Burke’s axiom “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it” is as true for economists as anyone else—something Howard S. Marks, W’67, knows well. To assure that Penn undergraduates do not fall victim to this phenomenon, Marks, a University trustee, and his wife Nancy have established the Howard Marks Professorship in Economic History with a $3 million gift to the School of Arts and Sciences.

“We are delighted that Howard and Nancy Marks have decided to endow a chair in economic history,” says Dean Rebecca Bushnell.  “The subject has never been more important, in both  scholarship and public policy, and it is especially important at Penn, with its strong emphasis on international and global politics and economics.”

Marks is the founder and chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, LLC. As chair of the University Trustee’s Investment Board from 2000 to 2010—a decade bookended by major financial crises—he avoided the market’s excesses and grew the endowment from $3.2 to 5.9 billion, receiving national recognition for his management. He is also a writer whose memos are eagerly anticipated across the financial world for their wisdom, charm, and crisp clarity. Many of these, along with commentary, are gathered in The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor, published in January.

“Howard understands the value of the liberal arts,” says Bushnell. “His generous support of the Marks Family Writing Center makes it possible for Penn students to receive the kind of individual attention and feedback that he credits for his own development as a writer.”

Along with the Writing Center, Howard and Nancy Marks are long-time supporters of renewable term scholarships for students in all four undergraduate schools. They also recently endowed the Howard Marks University Professorship in behavioral finance and the Howard Marks Investor Speaker Series at Wharton.