A tribute to Prof. Emeritus Michael L. Wachter and his remarkable 50-year career at Penn.
Michael L. Wachter, William B. and Mary Barb Johnson Professor of Law and Economics, Emeritus, taught at Penn Carey Law, the School of Arts and Sciences (Professor of Economics), and the Wharton School (Professor of Management).
From The Journal:
Even as an undergraduate at Penn, Roy Katzovicz C’95, L’98 had it all figured out. He’d be an academic, exercising his intellect to write erudite papers and lead lively discussions. Then he met Michael Wachter.
Wachter intuited that Katzovicz had unique talents better suited for business rather than professional endeavors. “You are what we call an entrepreneur,” said Katzovicz, recalling Wachter’s advice. He followed Wachter’s guidance and today Katzovicz is the CEO of Saddle Point Management, a multimillion-dollar investment firm in New York.
“Next to my parents, Michael Wachter had the single biggest influence in my life,” he said.
And that is why Katzovicz strode to a lectern to speak at a private memorial service for Wachter, who passed away last September. In doing so, he joined the wider Penn community of mourners—former students, fellow faculty members, administrators, and staff — who viewed Wachter as a visionary, unparalleled administrator, inspirational teacher and mentor, and formidable scholar.
The Driving Force Behind the ILE
Michael L. Wachter, William B. and Mary Barb Johnson Professor of Law and Economics, Emeritus, taught at Penn Carey Law, the School of Arts and Sciences (Professor of Economics), and the Wharton School (Professor of Management) during his remarkable 50-year career at Penn.
He also served as the University’s Deputy Provost and Interim Provost. On the 50th anniversary of his service to Penn, former President Judith Rodin CW’66, Hon ’04, under whom he served, praised his strategic prowess, stellar intelligence, and keen wit.
“He was ahead of the curve in conceptualizing ILE. Michael also recognized that the focus of business law had changed in the world and adapted ILE to reflect those changes.” - Jill E Fisch, Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business Law and Co-Director of the Institute for Law & Economics
However, Wachter is best known for being the guiding light of the Institute for Law & Economics (ILE) at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. The ILE, a partnership among the Law School, Wharton, and Penn’s Department of Economics, was established in 1980 to provide economic analysis of legal issues. A turning point came in 1984, when then-Law School Dean Robert Mundheim appointed Wachter to lead the body to bring Wharton and the Law School together. The man for the job, Mundheim decided, was Michael Wachter, then a member of the Economics Department. Wachter agreed to move from Wharton to the Law School.