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Martin J. Whitman '49, H '08 (1924-2018)

Martin J. Whitman

The story of Martin J. Whitman ’49, H ’08 (1924-2018), founder of Third Avenue Management, begins on the hills of Syracuse University. After earning a BS in business administration from SU in 1949, Whitman worked for a string of investment firms in New York City and Philadelphia. He began his career as a security analyst at Shearson Hammill before working for the Rosenwald family, of Sears Roebuck fortune, where he was able to get his feet wet in investment banking. He earned a master 's degree in economics from The New School for Social Research (now New School University), in New York City.

Whitman ventured out on his own in 1974 and founded M.J. Whitman LLC, a full-service broker-dealer. Ten years later, he participated in a takeover of Equity Strategies, an open-end investment company, and became its CEO and president. In 1990, Whitman started Third Avenue Value Fund. Today, Third Avenue Management manages more than $4 billion of assets for private and institutional clients. Whitman has served on the boards of numerous companies, including Nabors Industries Limited, the world's largest land drilling oil service company. Whitman also shared his special brand of investing with the greater financial community in the industry classics The Aggressive Conservative Investor, which he co-authored with fellow Princeton classmate Martin Shubik, and Value Investing-A Balanced Approach.

Whitman was a fixture of the Syracuse University community for more than 70 years. He often found his way back to the classroom to share his knowledge and expertise with budding businessmen and women of the future. He taught as an adjunct professor at the Yale University School of Management and at Syracuse University's School of Management, which today proudly bears his name. The commitment of Whitman and his wife, Lois, reflected their conviction that the American Dream is the promise of opportunity and will be reflected in our graduates' lives, careers, and contributions to society for as far as any of us can see.

For more stories on Marty Whitman, please visit:

"Successor in Place, But Manager Stays," Washington Post
Continuity suits
Third Avenue Fund