I hate to share the sad news that my dear friend and Chapman University colleague Clas Wihlborg recently passed away in a heart attack during a walk, 73 years young. Clas was predeceased by his daughter Emma who died at the age of 21 in 2011 and leaves behind his wife of 41 years Lavinia (Lee) Wohlfert of Laguna Niguel, California, and three sisters with families in Sweden. A devastating loss also for our family, Chapman colleagues, former students, research collaborators, and a large international network of friends inside and outside of academia.
I just spoke with Lee who obviously is shaken and heartbroken as they still had many plans for the future such as finally making it to Yosemite. She welcomed that I share this update as she would only be comforted if people honored Clas for the great man that he was. If you have a favorite memory of Clas, big or small, feel free to share that in the comments below or in a private message to me or to Rita in the Dean’s office as we will compile all recollections from various sources to share with Lee in some form.
Clas was still energetic and excited last week when he drove by to personally deliver the two hair gels I had asked him to buy at H&M in Malmö, Sweden. That is the way he was, always happy to help out whether it be driving Selma to the airport, proctor an exam for me, empty my mailbox, etc, etc.
He was frustrated that our MBA Travel Course “Business in Scandinavia” that we co-founded in 2010 understandably now had to be canceled for the second summer in a row due to Covid but we looked forward to many future adventures together. Thanks to Clas’s network, we were able to set up meetings with very senior executives of all the Scandinavian central banks, many large corporations, academic institutions, etc.
Clas didn’t worry too much about things but rather kept his inner child alive to enjoy the moment and was never far away from a good laughter. During our travels, a highlight every summer was when Clas delivered an inimitable rendition of Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze” in a live karaoke session at Restaurant Noel’s in Stockholm accompanied by my brother David Myhr. Students’ jaws would also drop when they learned all the things Clas had experienced such as seeing all the celebs at Studio 54 during its hey day in NYC while accompanying Lee who then wrote for People Magazine. Or that he bumped into Cassius Clay (later known as Mohammad Ali) in a restaurant in London in the 1960’s!
I conclude with a brief bio of Clas: Clas Wihlborg joined the Argyros School faculty in 2008 and held Fletcher Jones Chair in International Business. He completed his Ph.D. in Economics at Princeton University and has been a prolific author in International Finance, Institutions, and Law and Economics. He has held faculty positions in Finance and International Business at New York University, University of Southern California, Göteborg University in Sweden, University West in Sweden (Högskolan Väst), and the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark, where he was Director for the Center for Law, Economics and Financial Institutions (LEFIC). Clas served on the European Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). He also holds an Honorary Doctorate from Lund University in Sweden. At the Argyros School, Clas founded the Chapman Conference on Money and Finance and co-founded and organized for several years the MBA Travel Course Business in Scandinavia.
Thank you Clas for all the good memories, we will miss you dearly, and say hi to Emma!
Sincerely / Niklas