Obituary for Professor J. Spencer Martin

The Faculty of Business and Economics was saddened by the sudden death of critical thinker, colleague and friend Professor J. Spencer Martin, who passed away on 24 September 2019.

Professor J. Martin Spencer

J. Spencer Martin was born on April 21 1966. His academic career began at the University of Texas, Austin, where he set records as a three-time NCAA All American swimmer and graduated with highest honour with a bachelors degree in mathematics. He received his MBA in Information Systems Management from the University of Texas and his PhD from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. Spencer’s career took him from Carnegie Mellon to Arizona State and Ohio State before he made the move down under. He also held a visiting professorship at the University of Virginia.

Spencer became a valued member of staff at the University of Melbourne in 2009, when he joined the Department of Finance. He published prolifically in leading finance journals on investments, empirical asset pricing, and behavioural finance. He had a rare talent for combining a penchant for literary and whimsical phrases with brilliant scientific thinking. His meticulous research and incisive feedback have been cited widely in papers, presentations, over drinks and at dinners. For many years, Spencer organised the National PhD Classes and the Master Classes in Finance that are offered by the Australia-wide FIRN programme. His work has moved the discipline forward and has created a long-lasting legacy.

But, Spencer is best remembered as a motivator – someone who challenged his colleagues and students alike to question what is known, then challenge each other.

He is survived by his father and his sister.

He will be dearly missed by his colleagues at the Faculty of Business and Economics, and by finance academics and his students – past and present – all over the world.