Student Voices | Emeritus Professor of Marketing, Arthur Kover, Ph.D. Continues to Research and Innovate
Graduate | May 25, 2023 | Gabelli School of Business
Arthur Kover, Ph.D. is an emeritus professor of marketing who served as the chair of the marketing area at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of business for over seven years. In his retirement, he continues his intellectual pursuits by conducting research and publishing in the marketing field. Kover first made a splash in the world of advertising as an innovative marketer and practitioner in the field. Unlike many other academicians, he did not start teaching right after completing his Ph.D., which he earned at Yale University. Instead, he began his career serving as a researcher collecting and analyzing integral data about the marketing world. Later, as a marketing executive, he helped advertising and media companies discover “how and why” shoppers purchase in the ways that they do. He established himself as a highly respected marketing expert by the 1980’s. After spending 20 years in the advertising industry, working as director of research development at J. Walter Thompson, and as the managing director at Cunningham & Walsh, he was hired as a full professor, inspired by a friendly impromptu lunch meeting with Bill Small, who was then dean of the Graduate School of Business. In 1991, he began teaching marketing courses at Fordham, where he would become an inspiring faculty member in the Marketing Area for over a decade. All of his years of hands-on experience in the advertising field made him an influential professor and a resource for the students in his classes.
While at Fordham, Kover enjoyed teaching smaller discussion-based classes such as “Consumer Behavior” and “Introduction to Marketing.” Most notably, he developed his very own course, titled “Marketing of the Self.” This was known as one of the most thought-provoking classes offered at both Fordham campuses. The course was inspired by a reading by St. Augustine in which the human mind is described as being extremely complex. For one of the course’s meetings, students were asked to dress-up and prepare for an interview conducted by their peers. In many cases when a young professional is entering the workforce, it is important for them to know how to “sell themselves.” In this course, students were taught marketing concepts that could help them present themselves more meaningfully and with greater impact. Aside from his work designing and preparing this truly unique course for students, Kover also served as the Marketing Area chair for seven years and in this role, he was able to elevate the area and bring a nuanced and unique point of view to the position.
During his tenure at Fordham, he also conducted research outside of the classroom. He appreciated the freedom that Fordham afforded him to conduct relevant research on his topics of interest. Unlike most other institutions, Fordham, with its Jesuit view of education and open-minded approach to academic research, allowed him multiple research opportunities to solidify his intellectual pursuits and to identify new avenues for research that had not been previously explored by others. Even if the research was not mainstream or popular, Kover loved that mindset and helped to push it forward. His most regarded study was on advertising copywriters’ theories on how consumers process communication. The piece called “Copywriter’s Implicit Theories of Communication: An Exploration,” is a groundbreaking research paper as it is the first of its kind to study this specific topic. It was published in 1995 in the Journal of Consumer Research, a top publication in the field of marketing. Kover has published over 60 articles and research papers throughout his career. Later he would become the editor of the Journal of Advertising Research.
Since his retirement in 2003, Arthur Kover has continued to research, write and publish. In recent years, he published two pieces of literature. The first is titled “Tesserae: A Life in Small Pieces,” which was published in 2020, and in 2022, he published “Collage: Short Essays About a Complex Life.” Both of these works were met with enthusiasm and much regard by readers. They are also highly rated on Amazon and literary review platforms.
During my conversation with Professor Kover, he stated that “if you stop asking questions, you are dead.” This seems to be a constant thread throughout his life—from his education to his retirement. Throughout his career in the advertising world, his years as a professor and his retirement years, he has continuously pursued the answers to some of the more challenging questions in the field, and he continues to be influential in his writings. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Margie, near their two adult children and enjoys spending quality time with their grandchildren.
Written by: Derik Boghosian, a recent graduate of the M.S. in Marketing Intelligence degree program at the Gabelli School of Business.