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Obituary Stories

Students feared, revered CMU professor

Mary Pickels
| Thursday, May 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Steven Klepper, Ph.D., 64, of Pittsburgh, passed away peacefully Monday, May 27, 2013, in his home, surrounded by loved ones, from complications of melanoma.
Steven Klepper, Ph.D., 64, of Pittsburgh, passed away peacefully Monday, May 27, 2013, in his home, surrounded by loved ones, from complications of melanoma.

An introductory economics course taught by a renowned Carnegie Mellon University professor proved a common denominator for a tenant and her Washington landlord.

“He ‘Googled' me and said, ‘I was a student of Kleppernomics,' ” said Sally Sleeper.

“Kleppernomics” refers to the undergraduate economics class taught by longtime Carnegie Mellon professor Steven Klepper.

Steven Klepper of Squirrel Hill died in his home from complications of melanoma on Monday, May 27, 2013. He was 64.

Born Jan. 24, 1949, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Klepper had begun his career as a professor of economics at State University of New York at Buffalo when he met his wife, Florence Rouzier.

The couple moved to Pittsburgh in 1980 so he could accept a teaching position at Carnegie Mellon.

Sleeper, Mr. Klepper's former student and head teaching assistant, said students feared and revered his instruction.

Sleeper, a senior management scientist with RAND, recalled her mentor as a man who could commandeer an enormous lecture hall.

“He had a booming voice, and he could teach 250 kids and engage them. He would have them all sort of yelling and participating. He did not lecture. The flip side is, he was very demanding on his students,” she said.

“Steven Klepper was a brilliant researcher. His work challenged generations of young economists and entrepreneurs to look beyond traditional assumptions,” said CMU Provost and Executive Vice President Mark S. Kamlet.

Mr. Klepper received his undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees from Cornell University.

He received several prestigious career awards, including the Schumpeter Prize, Arthur Arton Hammerschlag Chaired Professorship of Economics and Social Sciences, an honorary doctorate from Friedrich Schiller University in Germany and the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research, awarded in Stockholm, Sweden.

In addition to his wife of 33 years, Mr. Klepper is survived by a son, Julian Klepper, and a daughter, Arielle Klepper, both of Squirrel Hill; and a brother, James.

Visitation was held in the chapel of Homewood Cemetery, Squirrel Hill. Memorial contributions may be made to Crossroads Foundation, 2915 Webster Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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