Former Stern dean Frederick Choi passes away due to illness

October 8, 2012

Frederick Choi, former dean and professor emeritus at the Stern School of Business, passed away on Oct. 2 due to illness. Choi was in his late 60s, according to a colleague.

Early Thursday afternoon, Stern dean Peter Henry sent a detailed letter notifying Stern faculty and staff of Choi’s passing. The email was then forwarded to Stern students by Stern dean Geeta Menon.

“This is a tremendous loss for the NYU Stern community, and Dean Choi will be sorely missed,” Menon wrote in her message to the business school students.

Choi served as interim dean of Stern during the 2010-2011 academic year, and many Stern students were moved by his friendliness and passion for education.

Evan Rochman, a junior in Stern, remembered being surprised by Choi’s greeting him in the hallway when he was a freshman.

“I looked up and saw it was dean Choi and was so flustered,” he said. “I barely managed to say ‘good.’”

However, Rochman remembered being moved by the unexpected gesture.

“I was moved by that moment when he tried to reach out to a student,” he said.

In fact, in his term as dean, Choi made a big impression on the then-freshman class of 2014. Stan Rosenberg, a current junior, recalled feeling inspired by the former dean’s address to his class two years ago.

“Dean Choi shared an infectious passion for the school, reminding us that success isn’t simply judged by what jobs we get after college,” Rosenberg said.

Choi also showed dedication to students in his initiatives throughout his career at NYU. Choi joined the NYU faculty in 1981 and served as dean of Stern’s undergraduate college from 1995-2004, before his second interim term.

Many faculty members recalled his energy and dedication to NYU.

“Fred was a key builder at the school for 30 years,” said Stern professor Tim Baldenius. “He has contributed enormously to the intellectual environment.”

During his first nine-year term, Choi established many programs for undergraduate students including the Barr Family International Studies Program for Stern juniors, which allows students to travel abroad to learn different business cultures. He also formed a senior honors program that links exceptionally talented students with the research faculty and the Cohen Arts and Culture Experience, which exposes all students to the arts and culture of New York City.

According to Baldenius, even during his final year at NYU, Choi was busy developing ideas to prevent accounting fraud, a common malpractice in the business world.

Professor Edward Altman also remembered Choi as a well-loved colleague and a professor who was full of school spirit.

“[He was] always courteous and interested in you,” Altman said. “And fiercely loyal to our students.”

Choi is survived by his wife Lois, two sons, two granddaughters and a daughter-in-law. Memorial services have yet to be announced at time of press.

Additional reporting by Gentry Brown. Hanqing Chen is assistant managing editor. Email her at hchen@nyunews.com.

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