A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
This venerable building was the home of the economics department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for several decades, including the time I was in school there from 1956-1958 and again during the 1962-1963 school year when I finished my dissertation. This building was a durable old lady which reeked of tradition and of the ghosts of famous economists who had been at home in this structure. Coming from the West, where we were used to having everything more than a few years old torn down and rebuilt anew, finding the reverence for old and functional buildings common in the midwest and east was a new experience. I had an assistanthip in the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics in which about five students were housed in one big room with our professor in the basement, second basement window from the left. I had no idea how I ever managed to get admitted to such a prestigious economics program, but managed to compete with my classmates from the Ivy League with my University of Wyoming and Montana State academic credentials. My first class in macroeconomics was a required course in advanced macroeconomic theory. I had never had an introductory course in economics let alone beginning and intermediate macroeconomics. But I was in awe of my academic surroundings, the atmosphere, the tough and world-class professors, and my congenial fellow students.
After two years of course work, we took our "prelims" or preliminary examinations. Half of the class I entered with failed. How I ever passed is beyond me. The ghost of John Maynard Keynes took pity on me. Again, of those who passed their prelims, only about half ultimately completed a dissertation successfully and received a Ph.D. degree, including some I thought were incredibly brilliant students. Then, in the fall of 1963, after a year at the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury's Office of Tax Analysis convinced me to go back to school, I took my final oral exams for the Ph.D. in the basement room, again second from the left, where I had spent my first two years here. Following my questioning, I was excused, only to learn that President John F. Kennedy had been shot and killed just a few minutes before, during my questioning. I didn't wait until summoned back into the room, but went in anyway to inform my teachers, since several of them had served or were now serving various positions in the Kennedy Administration. Having been in Washington working on the Kennedy Tax Cut bill just before I went back to Ann Arbor, my glee at finally getting my Ph.D. was forever dampened by the sadness of that day.
Unfortunately, this ancient building burned down a few years after I left Ann Arbor. But my memories of a graduate degree in economics and of the brilliant professors who taught me there are forever linked to this ancient and musty building.
For those who knew Jimmer before he became the Jimmer, the moment that best crystallizes his sun-kissed senior season came when Fredette effortlessly swished a shot from one step inside halfcourt in a game against Utah.
In about 1956, I shared an office in the center of the top floor where the curve is. My office mate had cluttered his desk with stuff, filled the pulled-out leaves with piles of papers, piled high the table behind his desk. So one day I came in the office and he was writing on a yellow pad on his knee. He was a labor economist; maybe that had something to do with it. I spent 10 years at Colorado State, beginning when I was 21 and had just finished a master's degree in agricultural economics at Montana State, returning after I finished my Ph.D. prelims at Michigan, and once more after teaching at Wyoming for 9 years. This photo was taken when I was a visiting professor at CSU during the late 80s. But my office was no longer here. I always loved Colorado State and Fort Collins, though I finished my career at Brigham Young.