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Dow Votaw

Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus





Dow Votaw, professor emeritus and a former dean at the Haas School of Business, died March 29, 2004 at his home in La Selva Beach, California at the age of 83. Professor Votaw joined the University of California, Berkeley faculty in 1948, became a full professor in 1959, and retired in 1985.


He was a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science and economics in 1941 from Colorado College. He earned an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard University in 1943, and following service as a lieutenant and communications officer in the Pacific theater during World War II, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1948. He was a member of the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association.


Professor Votaw was an exemplary campus citizen. He served as associate dean of the business school for nine years, acting dean for two years and as chair of the school’s Business and Public Policy Group from 1972 to 1980. An active member of the Academic Senate, he chaired Berkeley’s Committee on Budget and Interdepartmental Relations from 1970 to 1971.


Professor Votaw’s work as teacher and scholar was pathbreaking. In 1959, he helped to initiate a course on the political, social and legal environment of business, a seminal undertaking in American management education. The course became a model for other leading business schools and was instrumental in the emergence of the business and public policy field at Berkeley and nationally.


His scholarship was also pioneering. Two books published in the mid-1960s, The Six-Legged Dog: Mattei and ENI - A Study in Power (University of California Press, 1964) and Modern Corporations (Prentice-Hall, 1965), focused on the social and political role of modern business enterprises. The former, based on research conducted in Italy, examined the charismatic entrepreneur, Enrico Mattei, and the giant Italian petroleum monopoly he had created after World War II. The latter examined the evolution of the modern corporation and advocated the need for business firms and their leaders to govern accountably and to be socially responsible in their relationships with diverse sectors of society affected by their operations. Votaw also authored or edited three other highly regarded books and numerous articles in scholarly and professional journals.


Dow Votaw was widely respected within the Haas School and on campus for his judicious leadership and impeccable integrity. Quiet and dignified in demeanor and with a dry understated sense of humor, he was true gentleman. Students, staff and colleagues were drawn to him by his gentle and open manner and regularly sought his counsel regarding professional and personal matters. These human qualities contributed to his success in his many administrative roles on campus and to his popularity within the Haas School and the general campus community. For two decades, Professor Votaw mentored virtually every business and public policy doctoral student, many of whom subsequently became leaders in the field. In 1982, Haas students voted him their award for outstanding teaching.


As befitted one raised at the base of the Rockies, Dow was a passionate mountaineer. He climbed challenging peaks worldwide, including the Matterhorn, and trekked extensively in Asia including Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Kashmir (he was particularly partial to the Himalaya region), South America and Europe. On virtually all of his trekking expeditions, he was joined by his childhood sweetheart and wife, Marian, to whom he was married for 57 years (she predeceased him in 2003). In the Sierra, he left the “too-traveled” John Muir Trail to others while he hiked and climbed in more remote areas. He was also an avid swimmer, skier, jogger, reader and dog person as well as a devotee of Italian language and culture.


Upon his retirement in 1985, Professor Votaw’s many contributions to the campus were recognized with the Berkeley Citation, one of UC Berkeley’s highest honors.


He is survived by his daughter Tory Votaw Beale, son-in-law Rich Beale, and grandsons Scott and Greg, all of La Selva Beach, California.



              Edwin M. Epstein

              Earl F. Cheit

              Michael Conant