Photo of Franklin R. Root

Franklin Russell Root (1923 - 2005)
Eulogy by Tagi Sagafi-Nejad

Husband, father, teacher, scholar, friend, gentleman. By the time he passed away at the age of 82 on August 4, 2005, Russ Root had been all of those and more. My association with him began when I was a graduate student at Penn in the late 1960s. In search of a dissertation topic and a dissertation chair I came upon an article he had written on technology transfer - my topic. We became close and he became my chair. As I became more familiar with his work, it became increasingly evident that he was indeed a "Renaissance man" and a pioneering scholar, having written on topics such as political risk and multinational enterprises long before others. His book was published originally as International Trade: Theory, Policy, Practice by Southwest in 1959 (Roland L. Kramer, Maurice Y. d'Arlin and Franklin R. Root). The second edition was published as International Trade and Finance (Root, Kramer and d'Arlin) in 1966, and starting in 1978, as the now classic textbook Root, International Trade and Investment, which went into seven editions by 1994. Russ retired from Wharton in 1993 but remained intellectually active, dedicating most of his time to history and philosophy. He left behind a giant professional legacy of intellectual and professional contributions that spanned pioneering work with Howard Perlmutter on multinational enterprises at Wharton, the presidency of the Academy of International Business, membership and subsequently deanship of the AIB Fellows. His last formal role at our academy was as AIB Historian.

There is no tribute more fitting than words of colleagues. Here are a few remarks:

Howard V. Perlmutter, University of Pennsylvania: Russ Root will be long remembered for his depth and breadth of understanding of International Business as both a pioneer and continued excellence in his contributions to the field. As a colleague, he was outstanding in his kindness and generosity of spirit. He will be irreplaceable.

Farok J. Contractor, Rutgers University: "Russ Root (always Dr. Root to me) was a pioneer in our field, a scholar who made critical advances in the area of modal choice, in the analysis of political risk, and other topics which subsequently have grown in importance. But above all, I fondly recall that smiling animated face, peering at me from above his pipe, drawing me into fields of knowledge and history that I never knew before".

Steve Kobrin, Wharton, University of Pennsylvania: "Russ was a committed internationalist and a co-founder of the Multinational Enterprise Unit at Wharton.  He was also a voracious reader and collector of books.  He retired from Penn in 1993. He was a wonderful guy and a great colleague.  He will be sorely missed".

Robert Hawkins: "Russ Root was a fine professional and good friend.  He did not take himself too seriously, but seriously enough.  He was a good mentor to me as AIB President, since I followed him. He was a joy to work with; always congenial with a great sense of humor; shaped by his military experiences of World War II.  These helped make him a colorful leader, and one who cared greatly about the AIB, its mission, and its roots".

Jean Boddewyn, Baruch College, City University of New York: "Russ was a guide and a mentor, and a great colleague who made significant contributions to the filed and the profession."

John Stopford, London Business School. "Russ was a pioneer, committed to bridging the gap between economics abstractions and managerial practice."

Lauge Stetting, Copenhagen Business School: "Russ was a lasting inspiration for his Danish colleagues the CBS into a truly. His happy optimism will always be remembered."
Jose de La Torre, Florida International University: "I still consider Russ's path-breaking book on entry strategies one of the best summaries of cross border investment strategies ever written. May he rest in peace!"

Nelson Joyner, Federation of International Trade Associations: "What a down to earth person! I am indebted to him for his text on Entry Strategies and for his wisdom as a consultant, and for his contributions to the FITA."

P.M. Rao: "I join all who have known Professor Root personally and professionally in your tribute to a great academic, as I have known him from his work."

Warren Keegan, Pace University: "I have many memories of Russ from meetings and conversations at AIB meetings all over the world and I recall reading his work as a doctoral student. He will be greatly missed."

Raj Aggarwal, Kent State University: "Russ was a great guy and I learned a lot from his writings. I remember clearly our very interesting and illuminating discussion about the Rudyard Kipling character, Gunga Din. According to Russ, he was perhaps an early precursor of the global citizen. He was a very stimulating conversationalist."

Rosalie Tung, Simon Fraser University: "Despite his important contributions to our field, particularly in the area of foreign market entry strategies, Russ Root remained very modest. He was a wonderful colleague and will be greatly missed."

John Daniels, University of Miami: "I took my first IB course in an MBA program in 1964 in which we used a text co-authored by Russ Root.  The course and text were for international trade, which was a misnomer because they were already talking about foreign investment and foreign production by international companies.  This experience had a lot to do with my decision to continue to study for a PhD in international business."

Karl P. Sauvant, United Nations: "Franklin was always a very supportive teacher who took a special interest in foreign students -- and I personally benefited from that and appreciated it very much."

Thank you, Russ.

This eulogy was originally published in the AIB Newsletter, 2005-Q4.

Last Updated: October 2007

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