In an event brimming with emotion, friends and colleagues came together on Saturday night to celebrate the life of Isenberg’s David Lepak, who died suddenly on Thursday, December 7, at the age of 46.
Lepak, the Berthiaume Endowed Chair of Business Leadership & Professor of Management, and the Management department chair, was a popular professor who had been part of the Isenberg family since 2016. Married and the father of 4 children, he was also active in the community, coaching youth soccer, and volunteering at his kids’ schools. The memorial service reflected the spectrum of people Lepak had touched, with approximately 200 in attendance, including more than 20 children from the Amherst area, former colleagues from Rutgers University, and the Isenberg community.
The event at the Marriott Center at the University Campus Center featured a moving slideshow of David’s life that played on a large screen as people mingled and chatted. Isenberg Dean Mark Fuller addressed the group, talking about David and what he meant to Isenberg. Bruce Skaggs, a friend of Lepak of 25 years and a colleague in the Management department, urged those assembled to celebrate rather than mourn David. His moving stories of Lepak’s impact on his life and those of students and colleagues in the Management department touched on David’s positive approach, his sense of humor, and his message of perseverance. Skaggs’ remarks added lightness and appreciation to the gathering.
Lepak was a respected academic in Human Resource Management. In addition to teaching at the University of Massachusetts and Rutgers University, Lepak had also held academic appointments at the University of Bath, England, and the University of Maryland, College Park. He also worked at the University of Missouri, Columbia as Human Resource Generalist. Lepak authored a number of publications on human resource management. He received his PhD in Business Administration from the Pennsylvania State University in 1998, his Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri Columbia (1994), and Bachelor of Business Administration (HRM) from the University of Missouri Columbia (1992).