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James T. S. Porterfield, Lt.(jg)
U.S.S. Salt Lake City CA25
1943
Porterfield

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U.S.S. SLC...USN...James T. S. Porterfield, Lt.(jg)

US FLAG James Porterfield passed away on Feb. 28th, 2010


Source Aug. 11th, 2010:   http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm1005/kn-porterfield.html

James T.S. Porterfield, 1920-2010, a GSB finance professor known for his humor and sharp wit, as well as his grasp of markets and financial issues, died Feb. 28 at Stanford Medical Center of pneumonia. He was 89.

Described by GSB Dean Emeritus Arjay Miller as a "master teacher," Porterfield taught legions of executives, directed the school's Sloan Master's Program, and won teaching awards for his classes for MBA students. He taught a variety of classes from 1959 until his retirement in 1990 and continued making contributions to the school after that date.

In 1995, the Stanford University Alumni Association presented him with a lifetime service award. The citation read in part:"for vitality, humor, and pertinence (along with the appropriate ration of sports trivia) he injects into always challenging and occasionally arid course material."

Porterfield's language was "rich in metaphor," wrote Elizabeth Erickson and Tim Kelly, both MBA '85, in the April 27, 1984, issue of The Reporter, the MBA student newspaper. They listed some of his classroom comments: On classroom administration: "I would like to identify the lawyers at the outset." On top executives: "Presidents are the loneliest people on earth. They live in oak-paneled preserves." On banking: "Why do bankers use beta? To pander to the idiotic dribblings of their clients."

Joe Cusick, Sloan '73, remembered Porterfield fondly as "a tall and imposing figure in front of class, leading us into the murky depths of corporate finance and clarifying our (mis)understandings. He was a man of enthusiasm and personal generosity."

Born July 7, 1920, in Annapolis, Md., James Temple Starke Porterfield was the son of Lewis Broughton, a U.S. Navy rear admiral, and Maude Starke Porterfield.

During World War II, Porterfield served as a lieutenant on the USS Salt Lake City and on the destroyer USS Porterfield (named for his father) during the Battle of Okinawa, for which he received the Bronze Star.

After earning an MBA and PhD from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, he worked at Wells Fargo Bank, Anglo-California National Bank, IBM Corp., and Ford Motor Co. He then taught at the University of Washington, Harvard Business School, and IMEDE in Switzerland. In 1959, GSB Dean Ernie Arbuckle recruited him as part of the effort to build the school into an intellectual powerhouse.

Porterfield authored books and articles on financial management, including Investment Decisions and Capital Costs and Case Problems in Finance. In an interview with the Stanford News Service in 1980, Porterfield reflected on the U.S. economy --decrying inflation that was eating into both individual and corporate finances -- and on the value of business education at Stanford.

"The essence of graduate education in business should lie not in the transmission of information and techniques but rather in the development of judgment, the ability to analyze problems, and skill at making decisions on the basis of incomplete data," he said.


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