December 2023 Newsletter

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Dear Alumni and Friends,

As I write, students are getting ready for finals. Another successful semester is coming to a close, with many accomplishments by our students, faculty, and staff. While we are very proud of what we are doing here, we are cognizant of how much our success depends on the support of our alumni and friends! Thank you.

 Here are some highlights of our busy semester:

  • I want to thank Professor Simran Sahi, who retired at the end of August, for all she did to build up our undergraduate program as our director of undergraduate studies since 1991. Our program is large with many moving parts and she was extraordinary in the way she arranged all the parts to work together so well. We all learned from her—students, faculty, and staff—and I can attest to how much of a role model she was for me personally.
  • We welcome Professor Ayça Özdoğan, who has joined our department as the new director of undergraduate studies. Or I should say, “Welcome back,” as she is a Minnesota PhD and she later taught here for a year. (Happily, she comes with eyes wide open about our weather.) For more about this “Changing of the Guard,” see the story in this issue.
  • Congratulations to Professor Mariacristina De Nardi who was elected this fall to be a fellow of the Econometric Society.  A well-deserved honor!
  • In August, we held our annual Minnesota Workshop in Macroeconomic Theory, where economists traveled from around the globe to present the latest research on trade, taxes, housing, inflation, and more.
  • This fall, we welcomed our 2023-2024 cohort of Women in Economics (WIE) students, a program that provides mentorship, leadership training, and skills development to undergraduates.
  • In September, we hosted our 4th Annual HHEI Alumni Conference, which provides a valuable opportunity for final-year graduate students to present their research and gather feedback before entering the job market.
  • In October, the department hosted a conference in honor of Larry E. Jones, which brought together alums across generations who were impacted by Larry’s mentorship (and love of fishing).
  • In November, HHEI hosted the fall roundtable discussion, “Beyond Nature and Nurture: Exploring early choices and genetic influences on school outcomes.” This event saw economists Anusha Nath and Aldo Rustichini discuss the different factors that impact educational attainment and income.

We also would like to take a moment to congratulate our 16 PhD students who are entering the job market this year

Lastly, if you haven’t had a chance to listen to our Heller-Hurwicz Office Hours podcast series, we encourage you to do so. A second season of Office Hours is currently in production, so this winter is a perfect time to catch up on any episodes you may have missed!

Thank you for your continued interest and support of both the Department of Economics and the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute. If you'd like to make an unrestricted gift this year, you can give to Economics Annual Fund or the Heller-Hurwicz Program Fund. Or you can search for your favorite named fund. Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends, we continuously strive to be one of the best economics programs in the world.

Wishing you the best from Minnesota Economics!


Thomas J. Holmes
Professor and Chair, Department of Economics

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