headshot of Case Western Reserve University professor Bill Mahnic

Weatherhead School’s Bill Mahnic, known for his personalized teaching and passion for finance, passes away

Weatherhead School of Management Professor Bill Mahnic (MGT ’90) was known across Case Western Reserve—whether for his approachable nature in undergraduate finance classes, his friendly greetings to colleagues in the halls of the Peter B. Lewis Building, or the solid advice he gave faculty and staff from around the university through Wellness Program classes.

This week, the campus community is remembering the associate professor of banking and finance, who died Tuesday. He was 61.

Mahnic’s “big, booming personality,” as described by Department of Banking and Finance Chair C N V Krishnan, was long a staple at the Weatherhead School. He earned a master of business administration from the school in 1990, then became an adjunct professor in 1992, teaching one course per semester for the next 15 years, while maintaining a successful career at National City Bank.

In 2007, he joined the faculty full time, instructing students in areas such as corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, global banking and capital markets, and investments—areas in which he had real-world expertise after his long tenure at National City. He often taught new courses when needed and then regularly earned top instructor ratings for his approach, Krishnan noted.

“Bill Mahnic was a consummate educator,” said Weatherhead School of Management Dean Manoj Malhotra, the Albert J. Weatherhead III Professor of Management. “We are grateful that after a distinguished career in banking, Bill chose to share his knowledge through a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses.”

Over the past decade, Mahnic excelled in the classroom and built strong relationships with faculty and, especially, students. He was a two-time honoree for the Weatherhead School’s Excellence in Teaching – Undergraduate Studies award and was twice nominated by students for the university-wide Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Ethan Glickstein, a junior finance and economics student, said he most appreciated how Mahnic let his personality shine through in his lectures.

“He had great, really funny stories,” said Glickstein, who took multiple classes with Mahnic and was to be his teaching assistant this semester. “He’d lecture, but he’d intermix personal stories and real-life examples with academia. That was refreshing.”

“Students loved him,” Krishnan said, “and he cared immensely about them.” Krishnan noted how Mahnic regularly arrived at school in the early morning hours to prepare for his classes (when, Krishnan remembered, they’d often bump into each other and Mahnic would call out, “Looking sharp, my man!”).

Mahnic also was committed to ensuring that students got hands-on, real-world experience; he created the Weatherhead Fund, a club in which students invested in the stock market under his guidance.

“He cared about students so much—we were his No. 1 priority as a professor,” Glickstein said. “He was really invested in our success.”

Faculty and students both noted his love and devotion to his wife, Christine, who died earlier this year. The couple met as juniors at Holy Name High School in Cleveland; they graduated in 1975. The two were active benefactors to their alma mater (now located in Parma Heights), and Mahnic served on the board of advisors. (In 2014, Holy Name highlighted the couple for their dedication and contributions to the school. Read the profile.)

Mahnic was a regular contributor to local and national media, often appearing on NPR radio programs and WKYC-Channel 3 shows to share his expertise on banking and finance issues.

He also led programs for the campus community to learn more about personal finance, instructing series for faculty and staff through the Wellness Program and undergraduate students through University Health and Counseling Services.

“Bill was deeply respected, admired and loved by his students and colleagues alike,” said Dean Malhotra. “He will be greatly missed by all of us at the Weatherhead School of Management.”

Visitation for Mahnic will be held Monday, Sept. 10, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Fortuna Funeral Home (7076 Brecksville Road in Independence). A burial mass will be held Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m. at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church (8700 Brecksville Road in Brecksville).