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Spotlight on Giving: Dr. Harald Uhlig

May 17, 2017

This spring, Harald Uhlig (’90 PhD) established the Dr. Harald Uhlig Award in Macroeconomics with a $50,000 gift to the University of Minnesota Department of Economics. Uhlig, currently a professor in the University of Chicago’s Department of Economics, wanted to establish an award to foster healthy competition between graduate students focusing their studies on macroeconomics.

“I owe a huge amount to the University of Minnesota, to its Department of Economics, and to all who taught me there,” says Uhlig. “I am particularly grateful for my advisor, Christopher Sims, as well as Nicholas Yannelis, Ed Prescott, Neil Wallace, Tim Kehoe, and Ramon Marimon.”

Uhlig came to the University of Minnesota after completing a graduate level mathematics program in Germany. A member of his Fulbright selection committee who Uhlig describes as “particularly wise” sent him to the University of Minnesota. At the time, Uhlig was not aware of where Minneapolis was, or what made the program there so unique.

“I then learned that the University of Minnesota Economics Department was special in taking mathematics and mathematical modeling very seriously in answering important economic questions, an approach that suited me well,” recalls Uhlig. “The Economics Department is special as a place – where people were and are keen to think far outside the box, trying new approaches and viewpoints, that few others or no one else has tried before.” He credits this way of thinking for much of his own success.

While Uhlig admits living in Minnesota was not perfect – there were winter snowstorms and summer mosquitoes to contend with – he is incredibly grateful for the close community of PhD students and faculty. Uhlig says, “A particular highlight was weekly happy hours at Grandma’s on the West Bank, where faculty and graduate students would gather once a week to share good stories and beers.”

While Grandma’s has closed since Uhlig’s time at Minnesota, he was happy to hear that the tradition of weekly gatherings continues, despite the change in venue.