Photo credit: BMI Murithi and Nation Media Group
The Department mourns the loss of one of its own. Prof. Kimenyi was a former member of the Department before leaving to join the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. According to BMI Muriithi of the Daily Nation, he passed away on Saturday, June 6, at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, after a long illness. BMI Muriithi’s article in Daily Nation is available here.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his wife, Irene, and his three sons. Condolences and sympathy can be sent to: Irene Wangui Kimenyi , 2011 Wheaton Haven Court, Silver Springs, MD 20902.
The following is a note of memorium written by Prof. Richard Langlois:
A note in memorium of Mwangi S. (Samson) Kimenyi
from his friends and former colleagues at the University of Connecticut
We in the Department of Economics at the University of Connecticut were truly grieved to hear of Samson’s passing.
Samson came to us in 1991 and left to form KIPPRA in 1999, and was thereafter only sporadically in residence in Storrs. But he was with us for almost the entire decade of the nineties. We had hired him away from the University of Mississippi and awarded him the rank of Associate Professor less than five years after his Ph.D., which is an extraordinary rate of advancement. What attracted us to Samson was his astounding rate of publication, on a variety of topics. Among these publications was work on poverty in the United States, which focused on the importance of family structure – and which won the prize for best paper in the Southern Economic Journal. What we discovered after Samson had been with us a short while is that we had hired a wonderful man as well as a wonderful scholar. Those of us who came to know him well found that family was just not an intellectual interest for him but was part of his being, and we admired his devotion to his wife Irene and his three boys, who largely grew up here in Mansfield.
The problem with hiring a superstar, however, is that the world beckons. As Samson’s interests moved in the direction of African development, and as he became increasingly well known in that field, he was tapped to form KIPPRA and then called to the Brookings Institution. But we always considered Samson to have remained a member of our faculty in spirit. Many of us remember his visit part-way through the KIPPRA experience, which was memorable for a seminar in which he shared with us some of his accomplishments and challenges in Kenya.
In a way, we at UConn had already learned to miss Samson. Knowing that the parting is now final is a tragedy to us. But we will always remember his tenure here; and the spirit of his intellectual achievements and his warm personality will always remain part of our department legacy. We wish his family comfort in their time of grief.