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E. Gerald Corrigan, a risk manager who excelled in public office and on Wall Street, dies at 80

E. Gerald Corrigan, Ph.D., who earned an MA and Ph.D. in economics at Fordham in the 1960s, served as a university administrator and had a long and distinguished career in public service and on Wall Street , died on May 17. at NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham, Mass., where he was being treated for Alzheimer’s disease. He was 80 years old.

“Jerry was known as one of the most honest and wisest men in international business,” Joseph M. McShane, SJ, Fordham president, said in an announcement to the university community regarding Corrigan’s passing. “He always said his Jesuit upbringing equipped him to solve tough financial questions and make good decisions. Thanks to him, our students and graduates are also better prepared.

Corrigan accepted a position as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1968, while a doctoral student at Fordham. He had taught at the University the previous year and, although he planned to resume a career in teaching, he instead rose through the ranks of some of the most important economic institutions in the country.

In 1979, Corrigan left the New York Fed – where he had become vice president of open market planning and operations – to serve as special assistant to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker in Washington, D.C. The following year he was named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, where he served until 1984.

On January 1, 1985, Corrigan returned to the New York Fed as Managing Director and Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee. When the stock market crashed on October 19, 1987 – a day that would become Black Monday – Corrigan played a pivotal role in getting the market back on its feet by convincing bank lenders to provide liquidity to the financial system.

“Let me tell you, unless you’ve been there, you can’t begin to understand how difficult decision-making is in these circumstances,” Corrigan said. Fordham Magazine in 2009. “You have imperfect information. You have very little time. And you know that inaction is action.

Joseph M. McShane, SJ, President of Fordham, greets E. Gerald Corrigan and his wife, Cathy E. Minehan, at a celebration in Corrigan’s honor. Photo by Chris Taggart

After nine years as head of the New York Fed, Corrigan moved into the private sector in 1994, when he became chief executive of Goldman Sachs. He was made a partner in the firm two years later. Until his retirement in 2016, he wore many hats as a senior member of the management team of then-CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Corrigan served as chairman of the company’s two deposit-taking banks in New York and London, and he co-chaired several committees tasked with analyzing risk, including the Global Risk Management Committee.

In 2008, as a member of Goldman Sachs’ counterparty risk management policy group, he helped develop what many saw as a blueprint for reforming the global financial system, and as co-chair of the standards committee Goldman business, he worked to strengthen relationships with clients reeling from the financial crisis.

In his 2014 memoir, Stress Test: reflections on financial crisesformer U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner described Corrigan “as a sort of John Madden of finance – tall, gruff, old school, a highly respected student of the game, with a lively pace similar to his commentary”.

When Corrigan retired, Blankfein and Gary Cohn, then chairman of Goldman Sachs, wrote in a company-wide memo: “We have benefited immensely from his leadership in the global financial community, his experience as a central banker, his in-depth knowledge of the complexity of financial systems and exceptional judgement.

An ardent champion of a Fordham Jesuit education

Corrigan was born June 13, 1941, in Waterbury, Connecticut, to an innkeeper and librarian. He received his bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University in 1963, when he began his graduate studies at Fordham, earning a master’s and doctorate in economics in 1965 and 1971, respectively. While studying at Fordham, Corrigan lived off campus, in a drop-off at 183rd Street and Park Avenue in the Bronx, and balanced her classes with a grocery job at an A&P on Webster Avenue.

At Fordham, he developed a strong bond with Joseph Cammarosano, Ph.D., an economics professor and administrator at Fordham who had served as an economist in the U.S. Budget Office. Together they worked on a Bronx economic development study while Corrigan completed his master’s degree.

“He was a Pied Piper,” Cammarosano said of his former student, who recruited and directed 50 students who participated in the study, knocking on doors in neighborhoods around the Fordham campus for information. “Jerry was a very charismatic young man and he had a positive attitude. … Before I finished half a sentence, Jerry would know exactly what I wanted.

In a 2009 interview with Fordham Magazine, Cammarosano also noted Corrigan’s humility, saying, “Jerry is a Jesuit product. He’s not one to openly promote himself. He makes himself known by what he does. Cammarosano also recalled Corrigan’s competitive spirit, including his “sharp elbows under the basketball hoop”.

For his part, Corrigan credits his Jesuit upbringing, both at Fordham and Fairfield, as instrumental in the critical thinking skills he brought to his career.

“The educational philosophy that has been associated with the Jesuits for hundreds of years emphasizes the liberal arts and humanities,” Corrigan said. “But it puts even more emphasis on simple, straightforward propositions of trying to teach people how to think. That’s the genius of it.

And although Corrigan did not pursue a teaching career, he remained connected to Fordham in many ways and was one of its most ardent champions.

A member of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1987 to 1989, he has made several generous donations to benefit Fordham students and faculty. In 2000, he established the E. Gerald Corrigan, Ph.D., Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides support to full-time Fordham students who demonstrate both academic excellence and financial need, with preference given to students from minorities. Seven years later, he made another donation to further support the scholarship fund and establish an endowed chair, the Corrigan Chair in International Business and Finance at the Gabelli School of Business.

E. Gerald Corrigan, third from right, poses with recipients of the E. Gerald Corrigan, Ph.D., Endowed Scholarship Fund.

E. Gerald Corrigan, third from right, poses with recipients of the E. Gerald Corrigan, Ph.D., Endowed Scholarship Fund. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Besides the scholarship fund and endowed chair, Corrigan’s name lives on on the Lincoln Center campus in Fordham, where the 12th floor of the Lowenstein Center was officially named the E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center in a ceremony in 2013. He was inducted into the Fordham University Hall of Honor in 2012, and a year later received the Fordham Founder’s Award, given to individuals whose “personal and professional lives reflect the highest aspirations of the defining traditions of the University, as an institution dedicated to wisdom. and learn in the service of others.

In addition to his gifts to the University, Corrigan was generous with his time, often returning to campus to share his experience with students. In April 2005, he spoke to more than 120 students, alumni, and faculty in the Department of Economics. He delivered the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Gannon Lecture in 2006. And in a 2010 lecture titled “Leadership: Making the Right Things Happen,” Corrigan spoke to a Fordham audience about the criteria that make truly great people leaders.

“They recognize and accept the proposition that there is a time when the public interest must come first, before the natural and proper responsibility to promote shareholder interests and other private concerns,” Corrigan said.

“They understand that there are principles that should never be broken. They have the courage of their convictions and the will to do what is right for their own good. Finally, they are men and women of superior integrity.

“Working for the good of the world”

In addition to his dedication to the Fordham community, Corrigan has supported many other institutions. He was a trustee of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1981 to 1986, and he served two terms on the board of trustees at Fairfield University before being named a trustee emeritus of his undergraduate alma mater. In 2004 he established the Ernesto Zedillo Fellowship at Fairfield, and in 2007 he endowed a new chair at the university, the Corrigan-Minehan Chair in Political Science, named for him and his wife, Cathy E. Minehan , who served as president. and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 1994 to 2007.

He also funded scholarships to the University of Rochester, and among his and Minehan’s other philanthropic gifts was one to Massachusetts General Hospital in 2012 that supports innovation and research in the program of Corrigan Women’s Heart Health and throughout the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center. Along with Minehan, Corrigan was a trustee of the Challenger Foundation (formerly known as the Corrigan Foundation), which supports education, health and social services, and research in international economics and finance.

Corrigan has been a member of numerous committees and associations, including the Bretton Woods Committee, the Group of Thirty, the American Economic Association, the American Management Association, the Joint Council on Economic Education, the Council of Foreign Relations (which he headed from 1993 to 1995), and the Economic Club of New York. He was also made a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In a life filled with professional success and accolades, those who knew Corrigan point to his love for quiet time with his family or while fly-fishing and golfing, as well as his honesty and down-to-earth nature.

“Jerry was a problem-solver,” Minehan said. “He would put himself in a situation, and his clear thinking – which I know he attributed to his Jesuit upbringing – was always the star in terms of how to get through a crisis and how to prevent a crisis from happening again.”

She added that the Jesuit focus on the common good was something he took to heart.

“Being all about working for the good of the world, that says a lot about Jerry, and that’s what it was all about.”

Along with Minehan, Corrigan is survived by two children from a previous marriage, Elizabeth Corrigan and Karen Corrigan Tate; two stepchildren, Brian Minehan and Melissa Minehan Walters; one sister, Patricia Carlascio; and five grandchildren.

A private funeral mass for close family and friends will be held Monday, May 23 at 10 a.m. and will be streamed live on YouTube. A celebration of his life will be held in New York at a later date.