This letter usually conveys the current state of the department, which is changing rapidly.
In the past three years we have opened a new major (international economics), a new minor (business economics), a new concentration (financial economics); we have opened our first research center (the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities); and we are now the most popular major in the University, with approximately 600 majors.
Next year alone, we will add at least four new assistant professors and a new senior professional faculty member. And we aren't stopping there. The department is still recruiting at the senior and junior level and we expect more hires in the coming years, thanks to the University's new strategic hiring initiative.
We are bursting at the seams in Flanner Hall and the new Nanovic building cannot come fast enough for our department.
Nowhere is the change more stark than in the author of this letter. For 13 years the department has been masterfully directed by Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics Rich Jensen, who gets a well-deserved break from administration to concentration on his research.
Much of the success the department has enjoyed in the past 15 years is due to Rich’s leadership as chair. Last May, the University recognized his important contribution by awarding Rich the Presidential Award, given annually to a “...member of the faculty and/or the administration for distinguished service to the University over an extended period of time.”
I speak for our entire faculty, staff and students when I thank Rich for his devotion to making the department a center of excellence in instruction and research.
I am honored and humbled to serve the department as its new chair. I can only hope that in replacing a legend my success will be closer to that of Dan Devine than Gerry Faust.
Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Economics
Chair, Department of Economics