Bruce Erickson was "larger than life," both physically and intellectually, said colleague Ian Maitland.
If you saw him walking across campus, you'd probably notice his thick glasses.
If you had him as a professor, you'd probably notice he didn't use notes.
And if you went to dinner with him, you'd probably notice his passion for business and economics.
"He was quite unforgettable," said Maitland, who had an office adjoining Erickson's since 1979.
Erickson spent nearly 40 years as a professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Organization in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He was 74 when he died June 3 after a series of strokes.
Leaving behind his family, co-authored books, journal articles and countless faculty members and students, Erickson is most remembered for his seemingly never-ending interest in academics.
He was legally blind, but he turned his disability into an asset.
"He was a standout teacher and I think it was in large part because he was so well organized," Maitland said. "He had everything visualized in advance."
It was Erickson's "encyclopedic memory" that Bill Rudelius, a professor emeritus at the U, distinctly remembers. Rudelius said Erickson's ability to recall information during conversations was an amazing trait Erickson inherited from his parents, who were prominent professors at Michigan State University.
Because Erickson was so knowledgeable, Maitland said, conversations with him could be traumatic if people weren't prepared to talk about big issues pertaining to economics and business.
But that didn't keep students and faculty members from lining up outside his door for advice, Maitland said.
His popularity among students showed in his Teacher of the Year awards in 1983, 1985, 1988, 1991 and 1994.
"He taught and then he would go out and try to find out whether what he was teaching actually worked," said Tom Vonkuster, one of Erickson's former students. "He gave you a sense that if you work hard and try enough things, you'll eventually get things right."
Vonkuster said that despite the difficulty of Erickson's classes, students were eager to enroll because of his reputation.
He worked as an economist in Washington, D.C., was an expert witness in antitrust cases in the Twin Cities and traveled to 125 countries during his lifetime.
Friends and faculty described Erickson as a lifelong bachelor and a private person with a variety of interests.
"We were real good friends with him; he trusted us," said Shirley Hreha. She and her husband, Robert, took care of Erickson during the last 12 years of his life.
"He was a great friend, a great person and he did a lot for education."
He is survived by a sister, Marilyn Esposito of Lincoln, R.I., a niece and a nephew. Services have been held.
Asha Anchan • 612-673-4154
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