News releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4/24/06

CONTACT: Kenneth West, (608) 263-2326, kdwest@wisc.edu

NOTE TO MEDIA: Richard Meese will be available during the afternoon of Tuesday, April 25, to discuss world economic affairs with the media. To arrange a time, contact West's office.

UW-MADISON ECONOMICS GRAD GIVES $1 MILLION TO ENDOW PROFESSORSHIP

MADISON - Richard Meese, an economist and expert on foreign currency exchange rates, has given $1 million to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to establish a professorship in applied econometrics.

"The university laid the foundation for my work success," says Meese, who manages research and strategy on global currency products for Barclays Global Investors and a former economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

"I had an endowed professorship at UC Berkeley that supported my research, so I know how important these funds are," he adds, noting that he wants the professorship to be adaptable. "This flexibility will allow the economics department to reward faculty members in any subfield of economics who have done noteworthy empirical work."

Kenneth West, professor and chair of the UW-Madison Department of Economics, says he also appreciates the flexibility that will result from Meese's generosity.

"This gift increases our margin of excellence and will give us another tool in recruiting and retaining top-notch faculty," says West. "Dick has the vision and commitment to know that a gift like his helps turn out better students and better research."

Meese (pronounced May-see) will speak to undergraduates at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, in Room 8417 of the Social Science Building, 1180 Observatory Drive, regarding the economics profession and life after graduation in a talk titled "The Option Value of a Degree in Economics."

Meese earned graduate degrees - a master's in 1976 and a doctorate in 1978 - at UW-Madison. After graduation, he worked for four years as a staff economist in the international finance division of the Federal Reserve Board.

For the next 16 years, he served as a professor of economic analysis at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where his work concentrated on international finance. In 1998, Meese joined Barclays Global Investors.

Meese's many publications include a seminal 1983 article on foreign exchange rates in the Journal of International Economics. West says that the piece, which was co-authored with former UW-Madison economics professor Kenneth Rogoff, "changed the economics profession's understanding of the behavior of exchange rates. This is one of those rare instances of economics research that continue to be directly influential decades after publication."

Gary Sandefur, dean of the College of Letters and Science, says that Meese's gift will further enhance the reputation as one of the nation's finest economics programs.

"We're grateful for Dick's loyalty to the university and for his generosity," Sandefur says. "These kinds of donations are investments in the future of the university and its graduates. We're fortunate to have such a strong base of support, and Dick's gift underscores that."

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- Dennis Chaptman, (608) 262-9406, dchaptman@wisc.edu