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In Memoriam

rendigs-fels   rendigs-fels

RENDIGS FELS (1917-2010)
Professor of Economics, Emeritus

Ren Fels was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 11, 1917 and died in Nashville, Tennessee on January 24, 2010. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from Columbia University before serving in the U.S. Army in the Second World War. After the war, Fels returned to Harvard where he earned his Ph.D. in 1948. He accepted his first (and only) permanent academic appointment at Vanderbilt University in 1948, retiring in 1982. READ THE FULL BIO HERE


T. ALDRICH FINEGAN (1929 -2020)
Professor of Economics, Emeritus

T. Aldrich (Al) Finegan, an outstanding labor economist, trusted friend, and pillar of the University and Department of Economics for decades, will be greatly missed. Those of us who knew Al as a colleague realize the depth of this loss all too well.  Al served as Department Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies among many other key roles in his long career at Vanderbilt, which began in 1964 and continued to this day as Professor Emeritus, an honor conferred at his 2000 retirement. Al remained active throughout his retirement years, and was an inspiring figure to his friends and colleagues, taking up residence at the AEA offices until very recently, where he brightened everyone’s days there with his positivity and intellect.  READ THE FULL BIO HERE. 


Distinguished Professor of Economics, Emeritus

Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen was born in Constanza, Romania, on February 4, 1906, and died in Nashville, Tennessee on October 30, 1994, at the age of 88. He studied mathematics and statistics at the Universities of Bucharest and Paris (Sorbonne), and taught at Vanderbilt from 1949 to 1976. His early work pioneered contributions in utility theory and Leontief systems. Influenced by the writings of Karl Marx and his personal acquaintance with Joseph Schumpeter (whom he met at Harvard), Georgescu-Roegen in his later work criticized the neoclassical theories of utility and production, incorporated insights from agrarian economics, thermodynamics and ecological economics, and sketched the outlines of a new interdisciplinary field that he called bioeconomics. He is the author of numerous articles. His books include Analytical Economics: Issues and Problems (1966), The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971), and Energy and Economic Myths (1976). Paul Samuelson has described Georgescu-Roegen as “a scholar’s scholar, an economist’s economist.” 


C. ELTON HINSHAW (1936-2019)

C. Elton Hinshaw was born in Texarkana, Arkansas on August 2, 1936 and died in Nashville, Tennessee on February 24, 2019.  H earned his BA from  Baylor University and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt.  Upon earning his doctorate, Elton taught for a few years at Louisiana College before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 1966, where he remained until his retirement in 2001.  Elton’s most significant research contribution was Forecasting and Recognizing Business Cycle Turning Points, a 1968 National Bureau of Economic Research monograph co-authored with Rendigs Fels.  

Elton’s signature contribution to higher education has been his dedicated service to Vanderbilt and the economics profession, starting with the four years (1970-74) he served as associate dean of the College of Arts & Science, responsible for college finances and physical space.  He was an invaluable adviser to many of his junior colleagues as well as his students. Elton’s patience and good humor were legendary.  During the 1970s and 1980s Elton served in various capacities on the Arts & Science Faculty Council, chairing the Council twice, and serving on College committees on administration, the student judicial system, student-faculty relations, the curriculum, constitutional amendments, and education programs, among a half dozen more.  Elton taught many large classes of Money & Banking during his first two decades on the Vanderbilt faculty.  He was a popular instructor who retained friendships with many of his past students.  READ THE FULL BIO HERE.   


Professor of Economics, Emeritus

William H. Nicholls was born in Lexington, Kentucky on July 19, 1914, and died in Nashville on August 4, 1978. Professor Nicholls did his undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky and his graduate work at Harvard University, where he received the Ph.D. in 1941. His doctoral dissertation, published that same year, on Imperfect Competition Within Agricultural Industries, established his reputation as one of the country's leading agricultural economists. He began his teaching career at Iowa State University in 1938 and moved to the University of Chicago in 1945. While serving as assistant professor at the University of Chicago, he edited one of the major professional journals in economics, the Journal of Political Economy. Nicholls came to Vanderbilt as a full professor in 1948, where he continued his prodigious output of books and articles.  READ THE FULL BIO HERE

sahota   sahota

Professor of Economics, Emeritus

“A colleague who guided the program [GPED] in its formative years. . . a mainstay at all times.” James S. Worley (1988)

Gian Sahota was born on July 22, 1924, and died in Princeton, New Jersey on November 20, 2010 at the age of 86. He received M.A. in Economics from Leeds University in the United Kingdom in 1957 and then returned to India as a Junior Fellow at the prestigious Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi and promptly published his first book entitled Indian Tax Structure and Economic Development which gave rise to several studies on the same topic in other countries. From 1961 to 1964, he was at the University of Chicago pursuing Ph.D. in Economics. His Ph.D. dissertation: Fertilizer in Economic Development was published by Praeger in 1968.

Professor Sahota came to Vanderbilt University as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics in the Graduate Program in Economic Development (GPED) in the summer of 1964. He spent the next 24 years at Vanderbilt, becoming associate professor in 1967 and full professor in 1970. In the mid-1960s, after joining the Vanderbilt Economics Department, he traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil with other Economics faculty including Andrea Maneschi, Bill Thweatt, Werner Baer and Doug Graham to set up a Master’s program in economics at the University of Sao Paulo. This program became one of Vanderbilt’s best known foreign programs and continues to thrive today as a domestic program which now offers the Ph.D. degree as well.  READ THE FULL BIO HERE


GEORGE W. STOCKING (1892-1975)
Professor of Economics, Emeritus

George W. Stocking Sr. was an American economist who was one of the pioneers of industrial organization and an early writer on international cartels. After completing a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University in 1925, he was professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin from 1926 to 1947. During 1933-1943 he held several positions with the federal government, including the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he advised Attorney General Thurman Arnold. He founded and was professor and chair of the Department of Economics at Vanderbilt University in 1947, where he remained from 1947 to 1963. He was elected President of the Southern Economic Association in 1952, and of the American Economic Association in 1958. Stocking was a pioneering economist of industrial organization. Stocking’s most enduring research was published in three volumes: Cartels in Action (1946), Cartels or Competition? (1948), and Monopoly and Free Enterprise (1951). The first two volumes were seminal works in the field of empirical studies of price-fixing cartels; in them Stocking synthesized lavish quantitative and qualitative data on international cartels in eight markets that demonstrated their internal mechanisms, pervasiveness in
the economy, and effects on industrial performance. The third volume addressed the problems of market power in
the U.S. economy and public policies to ensure the benefits of free enterprise. READ THE FULL BIO HERE. 

thweatt   thweatt

Professor of Economics, Emeritus

William Oliver Thweatt, Professor Emeritus of Economics, known to his colleagues as “Bill”, died on February 28, 2008, at the age of 86 after being ill for about a year. Bill was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 4, 1921. He spent a difficult childhood since his father died in a car accident when he was six, and when he was ten, his mother died of tuberculosis. By then the Great Depression had started. Bill was shuttled among the households of relatives from New York to Alabama until he was 18, attending four high schools in three states. When World War Two broke out, Bill enlisted in the Navy’s V-12 program and was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. Through the Officers’ Training Program, he began studying at Berea College, Kentucky, and the University of North Carolina. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management in 1946 at UCLA, and stayed there to earn the M. A. degree in Economics in 1948.  READ THE FULL BIO HERE

JOHN VROOMAN (1947-2020)
Principal Senior Lecturer of Economics, Retired

John Vrooman was a well-known sports economist, with rare real-life experience in the field as a high school and college football play.  A popular teacher at Vanderbilt for more than 20 years, John inspired generations of students.  READ THE FULL BIO HERE.



FRED M. WESTFIELD (1926-2019)
Professor of Economics, Emeritus

Fred M. Westfield, Professor Emeritus of Economics, came to Vanderbilt as Professor of Economics in 1965, after serving on the faculty at Northwestern as Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics following his degree from MIT in 1957. Born in Essen, Germany, Fred was a local who went to high school in Nashville and then to Vanderbilt for his undergraduate studies. He made many contributions over his long career to the field of industrial economics. Those of us who remember Fred as a colleague prior to his retirement in 1998 will immediately point to his jovial nature and enthusiasm for life that seemed to permeate his every move. He had remained active in the department as an emeritus professor all the way to the present, and was a frequent visitor to our endowed lectures.  READ THE FULL BIO HERE.