Simon Business School

Gerald Gitner

The Gitner Prize


This award was established in 2016 by Gerald Gitner ’68S (MBA) and his wife, Deanne, to recognize a junior faculty member for teaching and research excellence, as well as overall impact on the Simon Business School and the University of Rochester. A committee of faculty and students selects the recipient of the Gitner Prize each year, and the award is presented during Commencement ceremonies.

A retired airline industry CEO, Gerald Gitner received his Simon Business School MBA in May 2015, 47 years after attending the School. The degree presentation stemmed from an e-mail to Dean Andrew Ainslie from Gitner’s son, Seth, explaining that his father left the School just before graduating to pursue a career in the airline industry after his final thesis was rejected for being insufficiently quantitative without enough data to support the argument. The thesis topic was “Government Bureaucracy in Securing Airline Routes.” Gitner soon became the youngest vice-president in Trans World Airlines (TWA) history, later rising to CEO of the company. He went on to become an airline industry titan with senior-level roles at Texas International Airlines, Pam American World Airways, Texas Air Corp., and co-founder of People Express Airlines.

“We are deeply grateful for this wonderful gift,” said Dean Andrew Ainslie. “It is an honor to have the Gitner Prize at the Simon Business School.” 

  • 2021 – Michael Gofman 
  • 2020 – Yufeng Huang
  • 2019 – Avery Haviv
  • 2018 – Guy Arie
  • 2017 – Huaxia Rui
  • 2016 – Mitch Lovett
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