Congratulations to Eugene Fama who was recently awarded a Nobel prize in Economics. He just celebrated his fiftieth year at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. Early in his teaching career, I had the privilege of taking a course from Mr. Fama. I also used to play intramural basketball games at lunchtime with and against him. He was not as imposing on the basketball court as he was in the classroom.
Fama was the second-best classroom instructor I ever had. Milton Friedman was the best, although Friedman was a veteran teacher at that time while Fama was just starting out. I am sure that Fama was a better basketball player than Friedman.
The University of Chicago back in those days was very special. I had courses with four Nobel prize winners in economics (although none had yet received the honor at the time. The other two were George Stigler and Ronald Coase. I knew Merton Miller, another Nobel laureate, although never had a class from him. Frank Knight who was retired frequently came to campus to visit with Stigler and others.
These people were giants in their fields. What they were teaching back then was not in textbooks. Much of it was being developed at Chicago and became core content at other schools years afterward. When I received my doctorate almost two decades later, there was nothing that I encountered that had not been taught at Chicago.
Looking back, the experience at Chicago was invaluable. I am not sure that any other place has ever had such a collection of path-breaking thinkers in Finance and Economics in one place at the same time.
I feel fortunate to have known these gentlemen.