October 26 2011
Braunstein '83 describes motivation for endowing new professorship
Doug Braunstein '83 paid tribute to Professor Larry Kahn when the new Braunstein Family Professorship was dedicated last week.
"Given the challenges and issues we are facing as a nation, I could not think of a more deserving and thoughtful leader" to address employment issues, Braunstein told more than 100 people gathered at the Statler Hotel to celebrate the chair to which Kahn has been named.
Lauded as an eclectic and prolific researcher, Kahn helped found the academic subfield of sports labor economics. He has also conducted international studies of wage inequality, the gender pay gap, unemployment and labor market policy.
Braunstein explained why he established the professorship, named in honor of his brothers, Scott Braunstein CALS '86 and Howard Braunstein CALS '89.
"I feel remarkably fortunate and privileged to have been a student at Cornell and ILR," he said. "I can't think of anything more important and meaningful than to give back to the university."
"The critical thinking the school instilled in me," said the 2009 Alpern Award winner, laid a "foundation I have built on over the years."
Although Braunstein expected to become an academic, he entered the financial industry after graduating from Harvard Law School.
Now chief financial officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., he leads one of the world's most influential financial organizations.
In the book "Too Big To Fail," Braunstein is credited as a key figure in the stabilization of the economy during the 2008 financial crash.
Robert Harrison '76, who becomes chair of the Cornell Board of Trustees on Jan. 1, said at the Statler event that Braunstein's gift supports the university's leading priority -- "investing in retention and renewal of faculty."
"Faculty is what determines the character of the institution and why students come to Cornell," Harrison said.
Harry Katz, the Kenneth F. Kahn Dean and Jack Sheinkman Professor, thanked Braunstein for years of service to ILR and introduced Kahn as a tireless researcher.
"He just goes and goes and goes with remarkable energy," Katz said.
Kahn, in addressing the group, described Cornell as "an incredibly wonderful place to be a labor economist."
The university, he said, has about 20 highly accomplished labor economists. They include Fran Blau, Kahn's wife.
Blau, the Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations, often collaborates with Kahn on research.
“We do some of our best work together,” said Kahn, recruited with Blau in 1993.
ILR proved the right fit, he said.
"It has been great ... and still is."