Wed 1 Dec 2010
Kermit Gordon (from whom I had Econ 1-2 and for whom I occasionally baby sat) had an influential career until his death in 1976.
Missing from the picture are two very important personages on the campus of those years.
Professor Despres is well-remembered in the above Stanford University citation:
“Despres joined the faculty of Williams College and taught there from 1946 to 1961. While Despres led the faculty, it was often said that “the best way to learn economics was to be an assistant professor at Williams.” He established the Williams Center for Development Economics for
students from developing countries. He also helped found the Pakistan Development Institute in Karachi and served as the American joint director.
“When Professor Despres came to Stanford in 1961, he already held a unique position in economics. Little known to the public and even to many academic economists, he was a quasi-legendary figure among the leaders of the discipline and among enlightened businessmen and public figures. Among the letters supporting his Stanford appointment, was a famous statement by the later Nobel laureate, Paul Samuelson: “Since Stanford cannot hope to appoint Adam Smith, it may do well to set its cap for Despres.”
“Despres taught by conversation, alone with a colleague or a student, in a small group or in a seminar. He thought and talked about a very wide range of subjects, some very far from his own specialties. His ideas were always fresh, often a profound basis for new theories of wide generality. His thought was practical. The theoretical problems he probed stemmed from questions demanding attention, and the theoretical positions he adopted had practical applications. He had a gift for vivid
exposition and for striking phrases. He drew on a long association with business and public affairs for illustration and evidence.”
And Dean Robert R.R. Brooks.
Another gigantic figure, ‘Triple R’s name might accompany a note that you were on ‘no cuts’ or warn you of inappropriate behavior. Or identify you as harmless to the Williamstown Police. I could hear his voice behind the sliding grate after I had embarked on an escapade, although warned by Rechtal Turgidley Jr that it was not a wise course of adventure.
Your turn, Mighty Savants of Statistics! Delphic On, Brothers!
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