Business professor Donald L. Crooks ’68 M’72 retired at the end of the fall 2022 semester, capping a 19-year career at Wagner College.
When Crooks joined the Wagner faculty in 2003, he brought with him an extraordinary level of experience as a former managing director at Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers, a former member of the Competitive Review Committee of the New York Stock Exchange, and former chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the American Stock Exchange. Credited with creating New York State’s first accelerated MBA program at Wagner College, Crooks was awarded the 2010 Faculty Service Award. The nominating statement for this award said, “Professor Crooks has transformed the MBA programs. He has enhanced the academic experience for all business students. His dedication to the department and the college are unparalleled.”
Professor Crooks was one of the moving forces behind the creation of Wagner’s annual Presidential Symposium lecture series in 2010, which brought significant figures from the national stage to Grymes Hill. Speakers included former New York Stock Exchange chief Richard Grasso, Home Depot cofounder Kenneth Langone, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and Kurt Landgraf, former CEO of Educational Testing Service, which administers the Graduate Record Examinations test.
In March 2012, after Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs over claims that the bank no longer put clients’ interests first, Crooks wrote an op-ed titled, “My Word is My Bond: Thoughts on Wall Street after Greg Smith.”
“As an academic, it would be easy to pile on an entire industry,” Crooks wrote, “but my career experience does not allow me to do that. Wall Street is not perfect, nor has it ever been, but to write it off as the embodiment of everything evil is not just simplistic — it’s not just.”
Later that year, Crooks joined forces with Wagner colleague Cathyann Tully and Elon University’s John Burbridge to address potentially fatal flaws in the Social Security system. Their proposal would have stabilized Social Security by indexing the retirement age to increases in life expectancy, eliminating the cap on Social Security taxes for top wage earners, and partially privatizing individual Social Security investment accounts.