Larry Steinhauer, E&M and Honors Program Stalwart and Leader, Passes Away

January 5, 2018

A headshot of a man in a suit.

Larry Steinhauer in 1988.

By Jake Weber

Larry Steinhauer, professor emeritus of economics and management, passed away on Christmas Day at his home in Albion, at the age of 75.

A student of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, Steinhauer’s research and teaching focused on money, money systems and the Federal Reserve. Over his 32 years with Albion, he taught and mentored many successful Albion alumni, including some who have gone on to become Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders in a wide range of industries.

“Dr. Steinhauer was a friend and mentor who opened my eyes to a world of possibilities that I didn’t know existed,” says Marty Nesbitt, ’85, co-founder and CEO of Vistria Group, a private equity firm, and board chair of the Obama Foundation. “He was kind and nurturing and my relationship with him changed my life forever. I will never forget what he did for me.”

As the College’s longest-serving Honors Institute director, Steinhauer established a recruiting process and extracurricular activities that doubled student participation over his seven-year tenure. This development helped expand the scope of the Elkin R. Isaac Student Research Symposium and gave support to the development of the First-Year Experience. Steinhauer taught his last Honors seminar—the Rise and Fall of Communism—a year before he retired in 2006.

“Larry was a master at program review and data,” says chemistry professor Lisa Lewis, who served as Honors associate director with Steinhauer. “He monitored every trend, from the number of recruits to the program to the actual number that matriculated to the number of theses completed by these students. Larry taught me some more about business and economics simply through watching him work his arguments.”

Lewis notes that beyond Steinhauer’s attention to detail, his attention to the student experience was equally invaluable to Honors’ success. Under his tenure the Observatory became the program’s home base, Midnight Desserts were established and the Honors Student Council was strengthened. Steinhauer designed the thesis-development colloquy and expanded learning, research and travel opportunities for Honors students.

“With the changes that occurred under his directorship, we doubled the size of the program within seven years. And, of course, we had the data to prove it,” Lewis says.

Steinhauer also served for several years as chair of the Economics and Management Department.

A man writing on a chalkboard.

Over his 32 years on the Albion faculty, Steinhauer’s research and teaching focused on money, money systems and the Federal Reserve.

“He was absolutely the best professor I had and one of the finest people I ever met,” says Kevin Nixon, ’77. “I became a partner in a ‘Big Four’ accounting firm and the skills he taught me—preparing for and dealing with difficult subject matter—helped me my entire life. I had a lot of great teachers, but he was the best.”

“Before arriving at Albion, I would have never believed that I would be an economics major in college,” says Susan Carroll, ’85. “As my advisor, Dr. Steinhauer suggested human resources as a career and assisted me in obtaining an internship. He later encouraged me to apply to Michigan State for a master’s degree. The self-confidence that I gained from being successful in Larry Steinhauer’s classes has served me well through my years in human resources and now as a small-business owner.”

Professor emeritus of psychology David Hogberg recalls a class Steinhauer taught for the Albion Academy of Lifelong Learning (AALL), notable for its excellence. “I learned a lot about money, banking and the gold standard,” Hogberg says. “Larry was a remarkably good teacher, very well organized in his AALL presentations, which I never was.”

Hogberg notes, however, that their decades-long friendship was most often a time to enjoy non-academic pursuits. The pair often reminisced about the Brooklyn Dodgers (Steinhauer could remember the starting lineup of the National League pennant-winning 1949 team), brewed beer together, and met over peanuts and beer at Cascarelli’s until a few weeks before Steinhauer’s passing.

“Sometimes others would join us, sometimes it would be just Larry and me,” Hogberg says. “We just enjoyed getting out. He was a great friend. We sure miss him.”

Steinhauer, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and his B.A. from City College of New York, is survived by his wife, Sarah, two children, and four grandchildren. (An obituary from the family is available here.)

A celebration-of-life service will be held on Saturday, January 27 at 11 a.m. in Goodrich Chapel, and will be followed by a luncheon. Former students and colleagues, and indeed all members of the Albion College family, are also invited to share their thoughts on the College’s Facebook page.

Contributions made to Albion College in Steinhauer’s memory will support student scholarship.