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Steve Swidler

KPMG Professor of Business and Finance

Ph.D., economics, Brown University

What I’m teaching:

Corporate Finance

What I’m researching:

“My main area of research is finance, and within finance it’s investments and derivatives and options and futures, and also some residential real estate research. The thing I like about being an economist is that the world around us is our laboratory, whether it’s looking at the used car market or selling stocks or even the economics of family life. There are so many interesting problems that I think economists can weigh in on and offer insights. Much of my research involves observing and looking at the world we live in. It’s the thing that I love about my profession.”

What drew me to Lafayette:

“My education is pure liberal arts. I went to Oberlin College as an undergraduate. Coming to Lafayette is like coming full circle in my career from a liberal arts background. My graduate degree from Brown was also in liberal arts.”

What students can expect:

“I like students to ask questions—I believe it’s important to have that give and take—the less lecturing there is the more discussion there is. But it’s still within a lecture format. For a student to be successful in my class, or any other economics class, is that they have to do the work and go through the problems. They can’t let Google solve their problems. The one skill that puts a liberal-arts major ahead of a trained business student is that in a liberal-arts environment you stress critical thinking. If, after four years at Lafayette, you haven’t learned how to critically think, you’ve short changed yourself. Critical thinking skills are in short supply and will always be in demand.”Steve Swidler

What I’m holding:

“These are gifts from my students when I was at Auburn. I am touched when one of my students remembers me, and that’s one of the reasons why we all teach. My office, when decorated, has two things besides my books—photos of my family and then when my students bring in gifts like this I like to put them in the mix. The expression of thanks is so meaningful to me because it shows you’ve done your job and reached someone in a very substantial way. Even receiving an email of thanks from a student is a gift unto itself.”

What’s not on my CV:

“When I was meeting people at Lafayette, I was impressed by the high percentage of varsity athletes here. In my background I also have some college athletics as well, albeit in Division III. I played football, baseball, and did some fencing. I just found out there’s a fencing team here, so maybe I’ll go and watch a fencing match or two. It won’t appear on my biography on the web, but at least students here will know I have some empathy about being a college athlete. I still love being a spectator and fully anticipate, given the number of student athletes who will presumably be in my class, to support my students.

Categorized in: Economics, New Faculty