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Remembering Professor Emeritus of Business Administration William Jensen

August 17, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

I am sad to report the recent death of Professor Emeritus of Business Administration William Jensen. Bill joined the Lewis & Clark faculty in 1971 and taught here until 1988. He was 83 years old.

A native of Seattle, Bill served for three years in the Air Force as a staff sergeant in training and intelligence before completing his bachelor’s degree in business at the University of Washington in 1957. He then went on to earn an M.S. in accounting and finance at Columbia University in 1959, followed by a J.D. from the University of California and a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Oregon State University in 1975. 

Bill was an active scholar, whose papers, articles, and monographs included a focus on the fishing industry. He himself had worked as a buyer and manager in several seafood companies in his early years. From 1980 to 1982 he was the executive director of the West Coast Fisheries Development Foundation, and over the years he served as an advisor to the Federal Trade Commission, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and a United Nations and World Health Organization commission on fish and fishery products, and to other federal, state, and foreign agencies concerned with various aspects of fisheries management and economics.

Prior to joining the Lewis & Clark faculty, Bill taught at California State University at Hayward and Oregon State University. After arriving at Lewis & Clark, he was invited by the dean of the law school to teach a course on Accounting for Lawyers. He also served for two years as visiting professor of administration and policy at Willamette University’s Graduate School of Administration on top of his teaching assignment at Lewis & Clark.

Bill was known for his drive, energy, ambition—and dry sense of humor. He was well informed, decisive, and direct. He held himself to high standards and expected the same of others. His faculty colleague Doug Egan characterized his work with students this way: “At the same time he commands their respect and, in turn, develops in them a sense of personal competence.” Life Trustee John Bates, who was a department colleague of Bill’s for seven years, underscored how many of his students have gone on to impressive and successful careers.

After leaving Lewis & Clark, Bill served as a consultant doing research and advocacy for the Oregon fisheries industry and for the Washington Apple Commission. His work for the commission, particularly the advocacy role, involved a considerable amount of travel to sites in Southeast Asia, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. He was co-designer of a computer program that created a model of great value to food producing industries. Both his model and skills were in high demand.

John Brown, who served as vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty during Bill’s time at Lewis & Clark, wrote the following tribute to Bill: “Based on our 40 plus years of friendship, I can confidently say that Bill was opinionated, argumentative, and stubborn. He was also among, if not the, most intelligent, generous, and loyal friend I have had the privilege of enjoying.” 

Bill is survived by his wife Carolyn, their three daughters (Sharon, Eloise, and Cindy) and their spouses, and by seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and two sisters. The family is planning a small private memorial gathering at a later date.

As ever,

Jane Atkinson

Vice President and Provost