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Former Johnson professor David Ahlers dies at 78

David Ahlers, an entrepreneur and educator who taught at Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, died in Ithaca March 28 at age 78 after a long illness.

Ahlers joined Cornell in 1972 following work on Wall Street and left the university in 1985 to lead DMA Associates, an executive education and consulting firm in the financial services industry. While at Cornell he also directed Johnson’s Executive Development Program, and worked with the Cornell Research Foundation and Cornell Student Agencies.

Celebration of life
A celebration of David Ahlers' life will take place Sunday, July 31, at 11:30 a.m. at the Ithaca Yacht Club, 1090 Glenwood Road, Ithaca, New York.

Ahlers received his Ph.D. in management and computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1974, his M.A. in operations research from the University of Washington in 1964 and his undergraduate degree in physics from Ohio State University in 1958. In 1979 he published a book, “A New Look at Portfolio Management,” based on his thesis research.

Among his teaching honors, Ahlers received a Cornell Excellence in Teaching award in 1974. He was named the Berens Chair of Entrepreneurial Management in 1984.

In 1996, Ahlers joined a group starting the Cayuga Venture Fund, which invests in upstate New York startups, and continued as a managing partner.

Survivors include his wife, Nancy Ahlers; six children and seven grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held at the Ithaca Yacht Club at a date to be announced. Contributions can be made to Weill Cornell Medicine’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Institute, 428 E. 77th St., Suite 400, New York, NY 10021.

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Melissa Osgood