BA alum named President and CEO of Walmart U.S.

William S. Simon, a University of Connecticut Economics BA from 1981, has recently been named President and CEO of the US operations of Walmart. He was previously chief operating officer at Walmart, senior vice president of global business development at Brinker International, which operates Chili’s Grill & Bar and other restaurants, and before that Secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services. He is a retired officer from the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves after 25 years of service.

Read more at UConn Today

Prof. Ross to publish in the Review of Economics and Statistics

Prof. Stephen Ross with his co-authors Eric Brunner (BA alumnus) and Ebonya Washington had their paper “Economics and Policy Preferences: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposals” accepted recently at the Review of Economics and Statistics, one of the leading journals in the profession.

In this paper, they analyze voting data on California ballot propositions between 1990 and 2004 classifying these propositions based on their political leaning (Democrat vs. Republican) and based on the type of proposition (fiscal vs. social). They find strong evidence that positive economic shocks lead to declines in support for redistributive policies using an exogenous proxy for economic shocks based on changes in national employment composition and the composition of worker industry at the neighborhood level. Further, they find that voters behave as if the voters have a preference for consistency in political preferences so that economic shocks have a smaller but similar impact on voting on non-economic ballot issues.

Prof. Langlois reports about his travels in Europe

Professor Richard Langlois is currently traveling in the United Kingdom as a Visiting Fellow of the Academy of Advanced International Management. He will be giving a series of talks in Lancaster, London, and Edinburgh. As part of the trip, he will also attend conferences in London, Scotland, and Denmark. Professor Langlois’s first stop in the UK was Nottingham, where he spoke at the Nottingham University Business School and touched base with UConn’s Marshall Scholar Michelle Prairie (pictured), who is completing her M. S. in Economics at Nottingham before moving on for another Masters degree at the London School of Economics in the fall.

On June 13 he visited the Lake District of Cumbria, where he discovered not only another Storrs but also a Storrs Hall, built in the 1790s and famously the home of John Bolton, a Liverpool ship owner who engaged in the “triangular trade” – including slaves – among Africa, the West Indies, and Britain.

Economics alumnus runs for Senate seat

Noted economist, fund manager, entrepreneur, race car builder, and UCONN alumnus Warren Mosler is seeking the office of US Senate to add ‘fixed the US economy’ to his long list of accomplishments. Mosler, a native of Connecticut who graduated from Storrs with a B. A. in Economics in 1971 is running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Senator Christopher Dodd.

Since graduation, Warren has spent 37 years in various financial institutions from Manchester, Hartford, New York, Chicago, and South Florida, including the founding III Offshore Advisors in 1982 and, in 1983, AVM L.P., a broker/dealer providing advanced financial services to large institutional clients. During these years he developed numerous investing strategies utilizing US Government securities and created the mortgage swap and euro swap futures contract. He maintains strong connections to the academic world as Co-Founder, along with L. Randall Wray, of the Center for Full Employment And Price Stability at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Mosler also has supported research projects and graduate students at the London School of Economics, the New School, Harvard University, and the University of Newcastle, Australia. Additionally, Warren is an Associate Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Warren is the author of numerous publications, of which the latest is ‘The Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy’ (Mosler, 2010), which challenges several contemporary assumptions about the relationship between government spending, federal debt, and taxation and opens the door to an immediate return to economic prosperity.

Warren is the original contemporary proponent of what has come to be called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). MMT begins with the operational fact that Federal taxes serve to regulate aggregate demand, rather than to raise revenue per se, and that funds to pay Federal taxes indeed originate from government spending itself. Warren’s campaign platform is based on three proposals designed to fix the nation’s economy within 90 days. The three proposals are as follows:

  1. Declare a “payroll tax holiday” where the U.S. Treasury will suspend deduction of all FICA taxes. That means the take home pay of someone earning $50,000 a year will rise by approximately $325 per month, fixing the economy from the bottom up, vs the current top-down bailout method.
  2. An unrestricted $500 per capita Federal revenue sharing distribution to all the State governments. This proposal mean about $1.75 billion for Connecticut.
  3. Fund an $8/hr. National Service Jobs program for anyone willing and able to work to facilitate the transition from unemployment to private sector employment, as the first two proposals will cause the large increases in private sectors business sales that quickly translates into the millions of new jobs we desperately need.

Since leaving Connecticut for Wall Street in 1976, Warren has lived and worked in New York City, Chicago, South Florida, and the US Virgin Islands. Additionally, while in Florida, he founded Mosler Automotive, which produces the world’s top performing sport cars. Warren returned to Connecticut this year to run for the US Senate solely as a matter of conscience, and not ambition. He sees himself as uniquely qualified to fix the economic problems facing the US economy.

Stockton to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award

The UConn Alumni Association recently announced that David Stockton has been named to receive the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award. After completing his BA and MA at UConn in just four years (1972-76), under the supervision of Professor Emeritus William McEachern, Stockton obtained a second MA and his PhD in Economics at Yale University. A Danforth Fellow, Yale Fellow, and member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, Stockton joined the Federal Reserve’s Division of Research and Statistics in 1981. Since 2000, he has served as the Director of Research and Statistics, overseeing the Fed’s large staff of PhD economists who conduct research and inform the Fed’s Board of Governors–the architects of U.S. monetary policy.

Both the current Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, and his predecessor Alan Greenspan have strongly praised Stockton’s expertise and advice on economic matters. In addition to his responsibilities for directing longer-term research projects at the Fed, Stockton presents regular economic forecasts to the Federal Open Market Committee–the group of officials that regularly meets to decide Fed policies and actions that shape banking operations and interest rates in the U.S. and abroad. Stockton’s public service career continues a family tradition. David’s father, Ed Stockton served as Mayor of the Town of Bloomfield, and later was named Commissioner of Economic Development under Governors Ella Grasso and William O’Neill. The Stockton family’s New Jersey ancestor Richard Stockton signed the Declaration of Independence.

Stockton will be officially honored at an Alumni Association event in the South Campus Rome Hall Ballroom, on October 1, 2010.

There is more about David Stockton in the UConn Alumni Magazine

Honors alumnus to be honored by UConn Honors program

Roger Ballentine, 1985 Honors Economics BA, will be recognized on April 30 by the UConn Honors program as one of the 2010 Honors Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients. Mr. Ballentine is President of Green Strategies Inc., an environmental consulting firm based in Washinction, D.C., working with clients in the energy and environmental arena on public policy matters, investment guidance in the “clean tech” marketplace, marketing and business development strategies, sustainability, and capital formation. Mr. Ballentine was a senior member of the White House staff in the Clinton Administration as Chairman of the White House Climate Change Task Force and Deputy Assistant to the President for Environmental Initiatives. Previous to these duties, he was Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, where he focused on energy and environmental issues. He is a frequent radio and television commentator.

Mr. Ballentine graduated magna cum laude from UConn, then cum laude from the Harvard Law School. He is a member of the bar in Connecticut, the District of Columbia and the US Supreme Court. He serves on many boards, in particular as founding board member of the American Council on Renewable Energy and on the International Advisory Council of the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He is also a Lecturer at the Harvard Law School, teaching in the area of energy and climate policy, and a Senior Fellow at the Progessive Policy Institute.

Monica has her hands full

We enjoy keeping tabs on our former students. We’re not nosey—it’s just fun to hear what they’ve been up to. We recently caught up with Monica Tedeschi Cantor (BA ’94; MA ’95), who is currently taking a stay-at-home “breather” with 2 year-old twins, Melanie and Henry, and her 14 year-old dog, Makita. But, if Monica is getting any rest, it’s certainly well deserved.

Never exactly the lazy sort, during her UConn days Monica belonged to crew and the Russian Club and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and local halfway houses. Her undergraduate Honors thesis on privatization in Bulgaria drew upon her summer internship with a World Bank consultant in Sofia, and her MA thesis focused on the determinants of health status in developing countries. She graduated Magna Cum Laude as an Honors Scholar in Economics and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and then completed her MA in Economics in 1995.

Monika worked in New York for the next 5 years, including 3 years as an Assistant Treasurer at Chase Manhattan Bank, performing profit and loss analyses of financial derivatives. She also worked for 2 years at Mitsui & Co. as a Trading Assistant in the execution of corn, soybean and soybean oil future trades.

Returning to school in 2000, Monica spent the next two years at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where she worked on the Journal of International Affairs, received a foreign language scholarship and studied French in Nice. She also received a program assistant fellowship during her second year and completed two research internships with the United Nations, focusing particularly on U.N / private sector partnerships.

From 2002 to 2004, Monica worked as an Analyst and Senior Analyst at the New York City Office of Management and Budget (NYCOMB), helping to oversee the City’s budgetary process in regards to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the NYC Planning Department, and the NYC Building Department. Responsibilities included budget and personnel analyses, meeting with senior officials, and management of internal processes.

Monika then joined NYCEDC—a quasi-public agency under the direction of a President and the City’s Deputy Mayor and Mayor. NYCEDC develops and implements programs and capital projects that foster economic growth in the City, including job creation. From 2004-2005 she worked in the Strategic Planning Department, where two of her major projects included a program to help ensure Minority and Women Business-Owned Enterprises (MWBEs) had a voice at NYCEDC and throughout City agencies, and a recommendation to the Mayor on how to approach Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs).

Later, as a Financial Strategist and Vice President in the Budget Department (2005-2007), she helped oversee and manage a team of ten budget analysts that carried out NYCEDC‘s fiscal responsibilities. They initiated strategic alliances between departments such as the Real Estate Group and the Capital Projects Group, and between agencies such as NYCEDC’s Economic Group and NYC Office of Management and Budget’s Economic Group. One of the most significant projects included research and recommendations to the President and the Mayor on Tax Incentive Financing (TIFs).

You can see why we’re hoping Monica will be able to participate in one of the professional experience panels at our forthcoming Graduate Reunion and Forum, scheduled for April 2, 2010. Children and pets are welcome too!

Alumnus endows Honors scholarship

Following in the footsteps of a philanthropist who helped make his college education possible, Michael Alpert ’90 has established a scholarship to help high-achieving undergraduate students succeed at the University of Connecticut. Alpert and his wife, Ariana Napier, have committed $25,000 for a need-based scholarship for honors students.

The benefits of scholarships exceed financial assistance. Scholarships recognize students’ accomplishments and promise and can incentivize them to succeed.

“I was twice awarded the Louis D. Traurig Scholarship for excellence in economics. Not only was the financial support very welcomed, but it represented an example of collegiate academic achievement,” says Alpert. “That’s why it’s also something that remains on my resume today. I strongly believe that awards like this as well as the distinction of the Honors Program gave me a leg up when I applied and was accepted to the Wharton School of Business and also aided me in the competitive world of Wall Street.”

Traurig attended UConn in the 1910s. The prominent banker and civic leader, who died in 1984, served on the UConn Foundation’s Board of Directors from 1973 to 1979. When he established the Traurig Scholarship in 1973, it was one of the largest endowed scholarships held by the foundation. Traurig wanted to support economics students at the top of their class, and his scholarship is still doing so today.

Read more at Our Moment, the UConn Foundation’s e-newsletter.

Posted in BA

BA Alumnus endows fund for Honors Program

An alumni couple who felt compelled to give back to the University of Connecticut for the education they received will now make a similar difference in the lives of future honors students. Robert ’68 and Carlotta ’68 Holster have contributed more than $1 million to fund an endowment for the Honors Program.

“Building on the quality of our outstanding Honors Program is a key strategy to attract the very best and brightest students to the University of Connecticut. This wonderful gift will enable us to expand the opportunities for students to have a truly enriched experience, and will enable us to provide the quality of undergraduate education that our top students have come to expect,” says Provost Peter Nicholls.

A self-described “curious but indifferent” student when he started college, Mr. Holster was excited by the Honors Program. He credits his professors during his first year with inspiring a lifelong passion for learning and preparing him for success throughout his life.

“They were talented, engaged with their material and their students, and it was infectious,” Mr. Holster recalls. “Those freshman courses in economics, English literature and history armed me with models for thinking about things that assisted me later in the Army and in graduate school, and remain relevant to this day in business.”

After graduating from UConn with a B.A. in economics, Mr. Holster served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army and then earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University, where he was a Samuel Bronfman fellow. He is chairman of the board and former chief executive officer of HMS Holdings Corp. HMS coordinates health care benefits between government entitlement programs (e.g., Medicaid) and the health insurance industry, working with more than 40 states and the federal government. Mr. Holster was elected to the UConn Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2009.

Read more at the University of Connecticut Foundation.

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship established

Timothy Holt ’75, chairman of the Board of Directors of the University of Connecticut Foundation, is supporting his two great passions—economics and Huskies basketball—with a major campaign gift. Holt and his wife, Beverly, have committed $401,000 including $150,000 to establish the Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship and $251,000 toward the fund for a new basketball practice facility.

Holt, retired senior vice president and chief investment officer at Aetna, credits his education at UConn for helping with his professional success. He was elected to the Foundation’s board in 2001 and assumed the chairmanship in 2009. Additionally, he was inducted into the UConn School of Business Hall of Fame in 2005.

“I received my education at UConn, and I’m grateful for that. That’s why I’m giving back. I’d like to help other people receive as good an education as I did,” Holt says. “UConn stands out for its ability to give people the opportunity to receive an excellent education.”

Holt, who earned a B.A. in economics from UConn and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, wanted to support an area the economics department is seeking to expand. The Holt Economics Fellowship will provide essential support for graduate students who are conducting research, teaching undergraduate classes and preparing to be the next generation of leaders in the field.

“When I was an undergraduate student at UConn, I majored in economics, and so I wanted to do something that would benefit the economics department. We talked to them about what would be the most helpful in achieving their strategic goals. Graduate student support is one of their highest priorities,” Holt says.

Read more at the University of Connecticut Foundation