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Among the 1,993 former students and faculty members featured on our Gies College of Business-powered ‘UI at 150 & Beyond’ website: The Class of 1978’s Marty Welch, checking in this week from Honolulu with a memory of a campus icon.

Heard the one about the killer goose and the rail car?

If you were fortunate enough to take Finance 260 for any of the 41 years the late, great T. Emerson Cammack taught it at Illinois, you know where we’re going with this.

”How many Business School alums who also sat in one of Dean Cammack’s classes could ever forget his continual references to his fictional Philo Life Insurance Company?” Marty Welch asks. “One of their policy forms included a Quadruple Indemnity Clause, paying out four times the face value if the policy owner was ever ‘kicked to death by a goose in a Pullman car.’”

When he enrolled at Illinois in the mid-’70s, Welch had no intention of going into the insurance business. And look at him now — in his eighth year as CEO of the Hawaii Employers Mutual Insurance Company.

For that, he has his favorite former UI faculty member to thank.

“Someone recommended to me that I should take Dean Cammack’s life-insurance course because he was an institution within the business school — and his name on your list of references wouldn’t hurt,” Welch says. “His was easily the most enjoyable business class I ever took and, looking back on it, it probably changed my life.

“Now, 40-plus years later, I find myself running a property casualty insurance company and still abiding by some of Dean Cammack’s principles: Take your business seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously; treat your customers well, serving their wants, not just their needs; and make others smile.”

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