David Andras ’85 says that of all of his experiences at A&M, there is one that will always remain fresh in his memory: the six weeks he and his wife, Anne ’84, spent traveling through western Europe with 50 classmates for a study-abroad finance course, led by Professor John Groth.
Rather than let the experience live on only in memory, the Andrases are giving to Mays to ensure that other Aggies have the opportunity to receive a world-class education without being hindered by a lack of funds. Their recent gift of $25,000 will establish the John Groth Scholarship in Finance, honoring the faculty member they remember so fondly.
Andras describes Groth as “a first-class professor and a first-class person,” and hopes the scholarship would be a way to honor Groth and the work that he does.
Groth says that the Andrases’ gift pleases him, but does not surprise him, based on his memories of them from the classroom. “I think thatâ€¦their commitment to helping young people move ahead, to finding a right way and to developing themselves and contributing later in life, I think that’s precisely the spirit of Aggieland that we need and want,” he said. “They set an example in that process, a powerful example.”
In his 34 years at Mays, Groth has been recognized repeatedly for his excellence in the classroom. His teaching awards include the Association of Former Students Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching; the Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Award; and twice, the Mays Business School Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2002, he spent a semester in Austria as a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar, and in 2005 he was chosen as a Mays Faculty Fellow for Teaching Innovation. He has taught students at all levels within Mays, including executive education.
His publications are numerous, and appear in various publications such as Journal of Finance and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Financial Research, Journal of Consumer Marketing, and The Financial Review. He has presented papers at international and national meetings and serves as a consultant and expert witness in the areas of corporate finance and management education. He was listed in the Journal of Finance Literature as one of the most prolific authors in the field for the 1959-2008 period.
Groth’s research interests touch on a wide range of topics, often at the intersection of psychology and finance. He has explored topics from human capital, creativity, and economic returns; to information, risk, and the decision-making process; to psychic factors and issues in valuation. “I try to pick something that I don’t know anything aboutâ€¦then it has to be a net addition. I try to learn something new every day.”
Currently he’s exploring human capital and creativity in light of time. “When today is over for us, today is over. It’s not like a barrel of oil, or a ton of steel, or ore in the ground,” says Groth. “If we don’t allow people to contribute today, we lose the present value of today’s contributions. In a financial sense, it’s gone forever.” Groth says that many organizations reward conformity and punish creativity, when to get the greatest contribution from an individual, the opposite should occur.
His interest in human capital was honed through a long career with the U.S. Navy, where he served for 26 years in both active duty and reserves. He held many leadership positions, including chief engineer and department head on a destroyer as well as commanding officer of several units. He retired from the Navy in 1991 with the rank of O6 (captain). The Navy was a great place to study human talent and capital, he says, as people of all races, backgrounds, and opinions had to come together to get the job done. “I’ve seen people do remarkable things, doing what needed to be done rather than what was convenient or personally desirable.”
Groth has been teaching at A&M since 1975, the year he graduated from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. He also holds degrees in physics and in industrial administration, both from Purdue.