Fred Kiesner

Message from the President
April 28, 2023

 Dear LMU Community:

I am saddened to share that Fred Kiesner, Ph.D., emeritus professor of entrepreneurship, passed away on April 26, 2023, after a long illness. He was 85 years old.

Professor Kiesner built the LMU Entrepreneurship Program from the ground up, from an introductory course he taught in 1974 to one of the most recognized and highly regarded entrepreneurship programs in the nation when he retired. Professor Kiesner taught dozens of undergraduate and graduate management and entrepreneurship courses and was a mentor, motivator, friend, and teacher to (by his estimate) more than 16,000 students over 39 years. Grampa Fred, as he was known by many of us in his later years, enlivened our community with his ebullient personality. His penchant for costumes, his witty all-caps emails, and his care for all he encountered made him a singular figure on campus.

Professor Kiesner joined LMU as a part-time faculty member in 1974; in 1979, he transitioned into a tenure-track position as an assistant professor in business administration. He became the Conrad N. Hilton Chair of Entrepreneurship in 1998. In 2009, the LMU College of Business Administration received a $5 million endowment for its nationally ranked Center for Entrepreneurship and renamed it for its founder, Professor Kiesner. He retired from the university in 2013.

Professor Kiesner has been recognized as one of the top five entrepreneurship center directors in the U.S. by Entrepreneur magazine and has received many national and international awards for his extraordinary work from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Beta Gamma Sigma, and the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Chosen as CBA’s “Teacher of the Year” 11 times, Professor Kiesner was also a recipient of the 2010 Fritz B. Burns Distinguished Teaching Award, LMU’s highest teaching honor.

Professor Kiesner earned his Ph.D. in two fields, entrepreneurship/management and education, at Claremont Graduate University. He earned his MBA from Northwestern University, and his BSBA from the University of Minnesota.

Plans to celebrate Professor Kiesner’s career and life are pending and will be shared soon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Fred and Elaine Kiesner Endowed Scholarship Fund, which was established to honor deserving undergraduate and graduate students in entrepreneurship.

Please keep Fred, his spouse, Elaine, their daughter, Andrea, his family, and his former students, colleagues, and friends in your thoughts and prayers.


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.