Students and faculty members are grieving the loss of Weatherhead School of Management associate professor Bill Mahnic. Mahnic, who taught banking and finance, died Sept. 4 at the age of 61 and had been a professor at Case Western Reserve University since 1992.
Mahnic is remembered for his immense dedication to his students. “Bill was passionate about everything, but his students came first,” said J.B. Silvers, Ph.D., John R. Mannix Medical Mutual of Ohio Professor of Health Care Finance and professor of banking and finance at Weatherhead.
“He was completely devoted to the students in his classroom,” said Weatherhead professor of banking and finance Peter Ritchken, Ph.D. Mahnic enjoyed teaching so much that he personalized his license plate to read ‘The Prof,’ according to Ritchken.
Mahnic’s commitment to his students did not go unnoticed. He won the Excellence in Teaching – Undergraduate Studies award at Weatherhead in 2013 and 2014. Additionally, he was twice nominated for the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
His students describe the late professor as someone who truly wanted to help them prosper. “He was always available to talk with us and was a tremendous resource for students,” recalled one former pupil.
Another former student who graduated with her master’s degree in May, Margaret Shull, reminisces about Mahnic’s faith in her ability to succeed. “He was always just a person who could make you feel like you could do it,” said Shull.
Ritchken said that Mahnic earned the students’ adoration, commenting, “[His students] respected him, they loved him. Mahnic had a connection to his pupils like few other faculty.”
Outside the classroom, Mahnic was known around campus as a happy, easygoing guy. He could always be counted on for his positive attitude.
“Wherever he went, there was just one big smile,” said Ritchken.
Shull could not recall ever seeing Mahnic in a bad mood and described him as being a friend to everybody. “He was always very talkative, open and friendly,” said Shull.
Mahnic was also essential in raising awareness for both CWRU and Weatherhead’s financial matters, participating in various press appearances.
“He really was, probably more than anyone else in the department, very media friendly, [and] that was very helpful to the school,” said Scott Fine, Ph.D., professor of banking and finance at Weatherhead. “He was such a beloved professor that the whole community was just shocked and saddened.”
Fine describes Mahnic’s passing as a “real loss” to the University.