Ron Slivka of Financial and Risk Engineering retires

More than a quarter-century of service

Ronald Slivka

Adjunct Professor Ron Slivka

Some things are easy to attach to a definitive number. Ron Slivka began teaching here in 1998, meaning that 2024 marks the 26th year he has spent as an adjunct professor of Finance and Risk Engineering (FRE). Every year for the last eight years, student teams he has coached have had podium finishes in quantitative international trading and investment competitions; if you’d like, you can visit the Department in person and count the many trophies displayed prominently there. You could probably even peruse records from the registrar and determine exactly how many hundreds of students he has taught over the course of his tenure.

Other things, however, are simply incalculable, like the esteem in which Slivka’s students and colleagues hold him, the value they place on working with him, and the genuine affection they feel for him.

One longtime colleague, Industry Professor and Deputy Department Chair Barry Blecherman, called it an “honor, privilege, and immense pleasure” to know Slivka and wrote: "Some people are deep thinkers. Some people are great teachers. Some people are kind and generous. He is the rare person who has all of these qualities.” 

Now, after more than a quarter-century at NYU Tandon, Slivka is preparing to step down from his post. Just don’t call it retirement, though. “I prefer to think of it as writing a new chapter in my life,” he explains. 

Listening to what Slivka — who was one of the financial industry’s earliest quantitative analysts — has planned, it’s clear that this next chapter will be an action-packed one. His plans include gardening and landscaping at the life care community where he and his wife now reside; serving as the newly elected vice-president of the community’s executive board (a position ideally suited to someone with his finance background); undertaking a wide range of travel with his wife, including visits to family in Great Britain and nature trips around the globe; and stepping up his exercise regime (he recently won a triathalon). 

While he’s looking forward to all of that, Slivka admits that the decision to leave FRE was not an easy one to make.  “Teaching has been a vital part of my life for a long time,” he says, “and I’m going to miss my colleagues and students at NYU Tandon more than I can say.” 

Ask him about the greatest rewards and fondest memories of the last 26 years, and he has to give it some thought – there are just so many of them. Forced to choose though, Slivka says that each of those competition trophies represents a high point in his career, concrete proof that he has helped to educate a new generation of quantitative professionals ready to make a material contribution to their industry. 

That’s not to say there were no challenges: “Quantitative financial industry technology is constantly evolving, and it can sometimes be difficult, as teachers, to remain current,” he admits. “But if you love what you’re doing, you’ll find the time. Any advice I might offer to my successors boils down to this: Make sure you love what you’re doing, and all else will follow.”