Ajai K. Singh, a leading researcher and teacher in the fields of corporate finance, investment banking, and financial markets, joins the ranks of Lehigh’s faculty as the first Bolton-Perella Chair in Finance.
Singh most recently was professor of finance at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western University in Cleveland, where he was in charge of the undergraduate program in finance that was ranked first in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek for 2010.
The Bolton-Perella Chair is one of four chairs endowed in the College of Business and Economics (CBE) by Joseph Perella ’64, widely regarded as an investment banking pioneer who has advised on billions of dollars of M&A (Merger and Acquisition) activity throughout his long career.
Designed to help the college attract and retain leading faculty, the Perella Chairs are awarded to faculty who can add to the publication and research exposure of the college, as well as create innovative academic offerings and enhance faculty leadership.
“For me, Joe Perella’s name is a legend,” Singh says. “It is a real thrill to get a chair that carries his name.”
Perella, chairman of Perella Weinberg Partners and a member of Lehigh’s board of trustees, says his decision to endow four chairs in the CBE reflects his strong belief that the university owes it to its students to attract and retain researchers and educators who are at the top of their fields.
“Lehigh has a long and proud tradition of educating tomorrow’s leaders and conducting research that matters,” Perella says. “It all starts with having innovative faculty who are leaders in their research fields and who bring a true passion for teaching.”
At Case Western, Singh won numerous teaching awards, including the Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award given to him by the Undergraduate Student Government at Case Western for being the outstanding faculty member in the Weatherhead School for 2010-11. He also won the Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2001, and was twice awarded the Mortar Board “Top Prof” Award.
Singh also has been published in such top-tier academic journals as the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Financial Management, Journal of Financial Intermediation, Journal of Banking & Finance, Journal of Risk & Insurance, and Financial Analysts Journal. He has more than 500 citations of his research papers.
President Alice P. Gast says the four Perella chairs have had a significant impact on the college and the university.
“Joe Perella’s well-earned reputation for integrity and leadership gives these endowed chairs immense prestige,” Gast says. “For generations to come, these chairs will help Lehigh to attract and retain the most talented educators and researchers who embody Joe Perella’s high standards for excellence.”
Commitment to Lehigh
Provost Patrick V. Farrell says that endowed chairs are one of the most important ways for universities to compete for the best faculty, and to keep them once here.
“Endowed chairs have a significant impact on a university’s academic direction,” Farrell says. “They allow us to do things we otherwise would find extremely difficult or not be able to do at all. They provide a distinct advantage in today’s highly competitive academic world, where universities are looking for faculty who have distinguished themselves as groundbreaking researchers and preeminent teachers.”
Singh says he was drawn to Lehigh because of the university’s position as a recognized leader in business education and the opportunities offered by collaborating with outstanding faculty and loyal alumni.
“I think that having an established program with deep connections with the alumni network was very attractive,” Singh says.
The other holders of the coveted Joseph R. Perella and Amy M. Perella Chairs in the College of Business and Economics are Anne Anderson, Paul Brockman, and Gopal Krishnan. The Bolton-Perella Chair was established by Joe and Amy Perella in honor of former Lehigh Vice President for Development and University Relations Michael G. Bolton ’65, ’67G, ’94P and his wife, Gloria, for their dedicated service to Lehigh and all they have done to advance the mission of the university.
“The Joseph R. Perella and Amy M. Perella Chairs have played a critical role in enabling us to attract top-notch faculty to our program,” says Paul R. Brown, dean of the College of Business and Economics. “Our students have the opportunity to learn from these outstanding scholars and teachers because of Joe Perella’s commitment to Lehigh.”
Singh earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1988, and began his academic career at Iowa State University. He joined Case Western Reserve University’s faculty in 1998, and was in charge of the undergraduate program in finance at the Weatherhead School through the spring semester of this year.