Emerson professor Karl Baehr, 54, passes away

by Jackie Tempera / Beacon Staff • November 14, 2013

Karl Baehr, a 54-year-old Emerson marketing professor and senior executive in residence, died last night, according to an email President M. Lee Pelton sent the Emerson community Thursday afternoon.

Like many of you, I appreciated and admired Karl’s passion for his work, his teaching, and his tireless dedication to Emerson’s students,” wrote Pelton in the email. “He was a marvelous colleague and mentor.”

Shortly after the announcement, a group of students created a Facebook group in his memory, sharing memories and thinking of ways to honor the professor.

In the group, Melanie Katz, a junior marketing communication major, recalled a time Baehr gave her business advice.

Karl told me something that still sticks with me: ‘no matter what happens, you have to be okay with it. It's the only way you will be able to progress’," she wrote. “Although he meant it in a business sense, it stays completely relevant in life as a mantra. This is the essence of Karl, a man profound in even the smallest ways.”

Baehr came to Emerson in 2004 to build the entrepreneurial studies program. His work at the college was recognized by Fortune Magazine, where he was named a Top Professor of Entrepreneurship in 2007.

Baehr created the Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship expo — an annual business competition in which students exhibit work from hisyearlong entrepreneurship course, according to the course catalog.

Andrew Clark, an Emerson graduate, said on the memorial page that he participated in the E3 Expo. He said he wants to make sure this program continues, even in the absence of its leader.

“We cannot let the program that he loved and poured his passion into fade even in the slightest.. in his honor.. maybe we all can be a little more involved.. reach out to those who might have benefited from his wisdom and demeanor as we have.. pass on what he taught us..,” wrote Clark.

Baehr was teaching two courses this semester: Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship I. Don Hurwitz, the interim chair of the marketing communication department, said he is working with administrators to determine a plan for these students. He said he will reach out to these people later in the day.

“We are also beginning to address how we can best advance the programs Karl has done so much to grow here at Emerson,” wrote Hurwitz in an email to the Beacon.

According to Pelton’s email, the college plans to honor Baehr’s life. More details will be released soon, wrote Pelton.

Senior Jon Allen, a marketing communication major and the winner of last year’s E3 Expo, also wrote on the Facebook page. He said he hopes to create a scholarship in Baehr’s name.

“I think he would love [if] we had the ‘challenge’ to raise as much money in one week to kickstart the scholarship much like the challenge we all competed for in class,” he wrote.

Baehr’s legacy will continue to exist within the college and beyond. Max Goldberg, a former student of Baehr’s, said he was an important influence in his life.

“Karl changed my life, literally. I suffered, as many Emerson artists do, from a paralyzing inability to be both a businessman and an artist. I almost credit Karl single-handedly for shaking that shit out of me, and empowering me to succeed,” he wrote on the Facebook page. “...I will miss Karl and think of him (as I already do) always.”