Nicholas J. Gonedes, W’67, a former accounting professor at the Wharton School, died Jan. 21 after a battle with cancer. He was 75 years old.
Dr. Gonedes grew up in the Flatbush Avenue neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. His interest in accounting began when one of his high school teachers recognized his talent and enlisted him to balance the records for the school’s audiovisual club. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School in 1967, then a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin two years later, where he wrote his thesis on Accounting for ordinary shareholders: a decision-making and motivational approach. After graduating, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business as an assistant professor of accounting. Over the next decade, he rose through the ranks at Chicago, becoming an associate professor in 1974 and a full professor two years later.
In July 1979, Dr. Gonedes joined the Wharton faculty as a professor of accounting and finance. At Wharton, he was instrumental in the early growth of accounting research based on economics and statistics. His research has earned him several awards over the years, including the award from the Pennsylvania Society of Public Accountants. During the 1970s and 1980s he published numerous articles on the topics of mathematical models in accounting, external accounting and capital market equilibrium, corporate finance, portfolio theory and comparison and selection of models. Dr. Gonedes served on the board of directors of the American Accounting Association in the 1970s and on the editorial board of the Accounting Research Journal. According to his colleague Brian Bushee, professor of accounting at Wharton, Dr. Gonedes has transformed accounting research “from a field of normative, armchair reasoning into a rigorous discipline based on economics”.
Dr. Gonedes was best known for his teaching. “We were extremely fortunate that Nick made Wharton his home for so many decades,” said Wharton school dean Erika James. “His dedication to his students was unmatched. He wanted each of them to succeed.
“Nothing, not even his illness, stopped him from giving his all in the classroom and in the research seminar,” said associate dean Nancy Rothbard. His family remarked in an online tribute that Dr Gonedes’ passion was evident in his determination to stay in class years after discovering his terminal condition, and in his willingness to continue teaching in person. during the COVID pandemic so her students could have a lively classroom experience.
Outside of the classroom, Dr. Gonedes was a music enthusiast and musician. His band Rail 3 (named after the electrified third rail of New York’s subway lines), which featured him on guitar and a rotating cast of friends and students playing other instruments, was a popular draw among the West Philadelphia community. At Penn, Dr. Gonedes founded the popular open-mic party Up On Stage. He also enjoyed shooting, squash and cooking traditional dishes from his native Greece. “When he wanted to know more about something, he would poke around,” his family said in a statement. “He found great joy in discovering the workings of a clock or a record player created 100 years ago and took pleasure in restoring well-designed pieces to their original beauty. He had so much optimism, courage and strength, and it was a privilege to be part of his world.
Dr. Gonedes is survived by his brother, Thomas; nieces, Tara (Nikos) and Georgia; nephew, Andrew (Jaime); and five great-nieces and nephews.
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