Kevin Fandl’s passion for his research and students was palpable.
He dedicated himself to serving students, advancing legal and international business scholarship, and sharing his talents for the betterment of others, both near and far. And he did so while wearing many hats: as associate professor of legal studies and strategic global management, Irwin Gross Research Fellow, academic director of Global Immersions and executive director of the Temple Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).
On June 29, 2021, Fandl passed away from health complications. For eight years, he was a fixture within the Fox School and the Department of Legal Studies, offering his insight and considerable knowledge to anyone who showed up at his door.
“Kevin was an incredibly kind, intelligent and thoughtful person,” says Ronald Anderson, dean of the Fox School and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM). “Whether over a cup of coffee or through Zoom, Kevin always brought a deep level of personal interest into a conversation. Even in the most challenging of times, Kevin found ways to have fun, engage his students and inspire joy in those around him.”
Prior to his work at the Fox School, Fandl served as Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and as Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to the Assistant Secretary of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He received his BA in Philosophy from Lock Haven University, his MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University, his JD in Law from American University and his PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University.
His colleagues will remember him as a wonderful teacher, committed to providing international business education for students whether that experience was in person or virtually.
“He always got a twinkle in his eye when we were traveling with students,” says Phyllis Tutora, director of International and Executive Programs. “He was really in his element when he was able to showcase a country and connect the dots for students of what they were learning in the classroom and then how it translates in international business.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic as travel was an impossibility for faculty and students, Fandl was part of the pilot virtual immersion programming including a Fox Without Borders trip “to” Colombia in fall 2020. Ever the compassionate academic, Fandl focused his session on busting misconceptions about Colombia and showcased the country’s complex, booming coffee industry.
Tutora notes that even after Fandl’s involvement in the Colombian virtual immersion, he acted as a resource to staff and faculty involved in future immersions. That was another common thread that those who knew him mentioned—no matter what was going on in his life, personally or professionally, Fandl would always step up, whether it was to help develop a workshop, act as a speaker or go the extra mile in providing support for students.
“He was one of those teachers that would rather see his students be able to communicate their worldview than have the ‘right’ or most easily palpable answer. He was not afraid to challenge his students but in a way that didn’t shut down dialogue,” says a student from his Public Policy class in fall 2020.
His areas of study were vast, with a focus on people—the underserved, small business owners, entrepreneurs, immigrants—and how the law impacts those communities. An active researcher, his work regularly appeared in prestigious journals such as the American University International Law Review, American Business Law Journal, Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, and Harvard Law and Policy Review.
He complemented his scholarly research by sharing and translating his knowledge through conference presentations, media interviews, op-eds and podcasts.
“A guiding force in the Legal Studies Department, Kevin was a highly respected law scholar, known for his pioneering research in the regulation of international trade and stellar teacher, beloved by his students,” says Jeffrey Boles, associate professor and chair of the Legal Studies Department. “We will miss his leadership, intellectual rigor, friendship and caring temperament. He is remembered with great respect and fondness by his Fox family.”
Friends and colleagues are invited to celebrate Kevin’s memory by sending flowers and sharing their memories on his memorial website.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made In Memory of Kevin Fandl to Light The Night | Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.