SBPM loses professor to cancer

Geza Peter Lauter, a dedicated GW professor for 34 years and chairman of the department of international business, died March 29 of intestinal cancer after fighting for four days what was thought to be only a severe case of the flu.

Lauter fell ill at the start of the week March 25. Although he canceled his Monday and Tuesday classes, he was in the office Thursday preparing his lessons for his Saturday class on the Virginia Campus despite still feeling sick.

“The fact he was here on that Thursday is a sign of his dedication,” said Kevin Stephenson, Lauter’s co-worker as the administrative manager in the International Business Department. “In spite of his illness, he was here and taking responsibility of his obligations and doing things. He had a sense of duty to his job, and he was very dedicated to that.”

Lauter, who first came to GW in 1968 as an assistant professor of business administration after earning his Ph.D. from the UCLA school of business management, gave a lot to his students and expected a lot in return. He always demanded high standards of academic performance and met that with his own strong dedication to his teaching and to his students, Stephenson said.

“He loved his profession, and he loved teaching,” said Birhane Yigezu, who worked with Lauter as the secretary in the International Business Department for the past seven years.

“He was a gentleman and always very respectful to everyone. He was a very excellent professor, and his students liked him very much,” Yigezu said.

In 1972, Lauter earned tenure with the business school, during which he taught graduate courses in business management and marketing.

Twenty years later he traveled to the Budapest University of Economics
as a senior Fulbright scholar. He traveled to Hungary to research the business privatization of Eastern European countries and to develop the curriculum for his course on “The New Global Competitive Framework” that he taught Mondays and Tuesdays with professor Scheherazade Rehman at GW.

The course focused on the European Union’s “single market,” or the development of competitive industries within a global framework. It also examined the changing Japanese economy and emerging Pacific Basin, which reflected his interest in global economics and international business. He published several books, including The Internationalization of the Japanese Economy (1990) and Multinational Corporations and the East European Socialist Economics (1975).

The publication of his book The Manager and Economic Reform in Hungry (1972) reflected his continuing interest and active involvement in Hungary, where he grew up after his family moved from his native Bad Ladenburg, Germany.

After the publication of this book, Lauter continued to follow the economic development of Hungary as it shed the cloak of communism in the early 1980s. He joined an international group of experts as an official member of the Hungarian Blue Ribbon Commission, which assisted the Hungarian government in creating a more democratic market economy.

In 1997, the Budapest University of Economics honored Lauter with an Honorary Doctorate for his dedication and contributions to Hungary and its economic development.

Lauter’s wife, Eva Maria, survives him, and he has no children. She will hold a memorial service to celebrate Lauter’s life Friday, April 19 at 11 a.m. in the Continental Ballroom on the third floor of the Marvin Center. She asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to a memorial scholarship fund for her husband. The scholarship will be made available to business graduate students in coming years.

For further information, or to RSVP for the services, please contact Kevin Stephenson in the Department of International Business at kmsibus2@gwu.edu.

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