In Memoriam: Miami Law Mourns the Passing of Professor Fred McChesney, J.D. ’78


Fred S. McChesney, a leader in applying economics to the study of law, and the holder of the de la Cruz-Mentschikoff Endowed Chair in Law and Economics at the University of Miami School of Law, died Thursday morning in Maryland after battling a long illness. He was 68.

Professor Fred McChesney

Before the launch of an academic career, McChesney joined the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission as associate director for policy and evaluation. He would go on to become a major figure in the confluence of business, finance and law, with teaching positions in the law schools of Cornell, Emory and Northwestern, where he held a joint appointment in the schools of law and business and was holder of the James B. Haddad Professorship.

In addition to his law degree from the University of Miami in 1978, the Maryland native received a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Economics and was the author or co-author of five books and many articles on antitrust, business and economics.

“No legal scholar could have been better suited than Fred McChesney to be appointed the first recipient of the de la Cruz Mentschikoff Chair in Law and Economics at the University of Miami,” said Carlos de la Cruz, Sr., the Miami Law alumnus and entrepreneur who established the chair in former Dean Soia Mentschikoff’s honor.

“Fred’s appointment at UM was hailed as a coup. He brought back to the School of Law his vast experience practicing law, his work at the FTC as Associate Director for Policy and Evaluation, and his scholarship and academic career,” said de la Cruz. “Fred kept up his scholarly output throughout his tenure at UM, editing two well received textbooks on anti-trust law and teaching very popular classes on the same subject. This tremendous scholarly legacy would be incomplete without celebrating Fred's best qualities: his eternally sunny outlook and indomitable spirit. He will be missed.”

The concept of integrating law and economics began at Miami Law in 1975, when a young Fred McChesney was among the first students to explore the links between the two disciplines. Returning to the Law School in 2011, McChesney focused on topics such as corporate finance, business transactions and antitrust issues. He was the first Miami Law alumnus to be named to a chair at the school.

“As those of us who had the privilege of knowing Fred as a friend, colleague or teacher know, he was a kind and generous person with a remarkably good nature,” wrote Miami Law Dean Patricia D. White, in an email to the community. “He was also a very distinguished scholar and exceptional teacher. We are all the poorer for losing him and all the richer for having had him among us.”

At McChesney’s investiture, Timothy J. Muris, a former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, friend, and fellow lover of baseball, said, “Fred is a world-class scholar. He is also a world-class individual. Fred makes friends easier than anyone. To eat at Shorty's with Fred is to become engaged in a conversation with the entire picnic-style table, most of whom you have never met. Fred also knows more about pre-Beatles rock'n'roll than anyone alive.”

There will be a Celebration of the Life of Fred McChesney at the Law School on February 1, 2018.

Read Professor McChesney's official obituary here.