2012 Robert W. Smiley Jr. Fellow to Study the History of Employee Stock Ownership

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) has awarded the 2011-2012 Robert W. Smiley Jr. Fellowship in economic history to Professor Stephen Adams. Adams is an associate professor of management at the University of Maryland System’s Salisbury University Franklin P. Perdue School of Business. He has a doctorate in history from The Johns Hopkins University. He is conducting an historical study of a major U.S. corporation which has had an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP ) throughout its many decades of existence.

The Smiley Fellowships in economic history were established two years ago in order to encourage the study of issues related to broad-based employee ownership and related ideas in American history. It is part of an interdisciplinary fellowship program at the School that examines broad-based employee stock ownership and profit sharing in the corporation and in the economy and society across the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities.

The fellowships were established by Robert W. Smiley Jr. through the auspices of the Employee Ownership Foundation. Smiley is the founder, chair and managing director of The Benefit Capital Companies Inc., a national group of merchant banking firms with offices in California, Hawaii, Nevada, New York and Texas. He resides in Logandale, Nevada.

Smiley’s gift provides funds to support research scholars. “The School of Management and Labor Relations is particularly delighted with this first gift to encourage scholars to examine these important issues in past and contemporary American history,” said Dean David Finegold. “The Smiley Fellows are part of the world’s largest group of scholars working in this field, which SMLR created. The new fellowships benefit Rutgers by deepening the university’s research focus with the addition of the lessons of history to the social science and policy studies its faculty is carrying out. ”

Smiley was born in Lansing, Mich., and served in the United States Navy. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He received his law degree from La Salle University in Chicago.

Smiley has been involved for more than 30 years in employee ownership transactions throughout the United States. He is the former president of the ESOP Council of America, the predecessor organization of the ESOP Association, a founder of the ESOP Association and an honorary lifetime member of its board of governors. He has served as a member of the extension faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles, was a trustee of the Reason Foundation, and has had a long-standing interest in American history.

Smiley also is the managing editor and a lead author of Employee Stock Ownership Plans: ESOP Planning, Financing, Implementation, Law and Taxation, a reference work for business people and for legal and financial professionals published by the Beyster Institute at the University of California at San Diego. He has received an award from the U.S. President’s Commission on Pension Policy for his policy work in this area.

There are now fifty fellows in total in the Rutgers fellowship program which includes two national conferences annually in order to bring the scholars together. For a list of all current and past fellows, see: http://smlr.rutgers.edu/research-and-centers/fellowship-programs and for more information on the Smiley Fellows, see: http://smlr.rutgers.edu/smiley-fellows at the School’s web site.

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Shino John