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A Conference to Celebrate Edward C. Prescott

December 18, 2018

There are very few people in the world who are as accomplished as Nobel Prize-winning economist Edward C. Prescott. This fall, the University of Minnesota had the privilege of hosting him for an academic conference organized by his former students to mark not only his invaluable contributions to the field of economics but also to celebrate the role he played in shaping their own personal and professional development.

Honoring a Professor and Role-model

“I have always been grateful to Ed for the special role he played in my life and suspected that it would be the same for many of his students,” said Ayse Imrohoroglu, currently at the University of Southern California and former advisee of Prescott. “He was a very kind, supportive, and constructive advisor and friend who taught me how to be an economist.”

After talking with Maria Muniagurria, currently at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and another former advisee of Prescott, they decided to organize a conference where many of his students could present their work and get a chance to thank him for being an exceptional mentor and guide to them. 

Their idea turned out to be even more popular than they originally thought. While they were initially planning a day of six former advisee presentations, they ended up with a packed agenda of twelve presenters. 

On September 21, dozens of Prescott’s former students gathered for a conference covering topics such as affordable housing, Medicaid, tax policy, and bank regulation, among others, that all tied back to contributions Prescott has made to the field of economics.

Giving Back

To give back to the department and to honor Prescott, his former students launched the Edward C. Prescott Fellowship. “I believe in giving back to those that had a big impact on our lives and invested in us,” says Muniagurra. “The U of M invested generously in me and other students. This fellowship is to thank Ed and the Minnesota economics department for investing in us.” 

To date, Prescott’s former students have raised $100,000 to establish the Edward C. Prescott Graduate Student Fellowship.

“We are so thrilled to be a part of honoring Ed in this way and are not at all surprised by the enthusiasm of Ed’s former students,” said Ellen McGrattan, professor of economics and director of the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute. “When Ayse and Maria came to me with this idea I knew it was going to be big and it was! We are incredibly grateful to our alumni who contributed to this fund and are providing the resources we need to train our future economists at the highest level.”