Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Becker builds on a career of original thinking

The University of Chicago
June 1, 2010

Fifty-five years after earning his doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago, Gary Becker still works in his office seven days a week, constantly seeking out new discussions on the subject that is his life’s passion.

He also writes a popular weekly blog with federal judge Richard Posner in addition to researching, writing on scholarly topics, and teaching graduate students. His influential work has earned the 79-year-old world-renowned economist the Nobel Prize in Economics, the National Medal of Science, the John Bates Clark Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to name a few.

And the thin, fit man with a wisp of gray hair and a warm, attentive demeanor has no plans to retire any time soon.

“He’s remarkably immune to the aging process,” says Posner, a longtime friend and senior lecturer at the Law School. “He just doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.”

In recognition of the contributions to his field and to the University of Chicago, Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, will receive the University’s Alumni Medal, the highest award the Alumni Association bestows. The award ceremony will take place during Alumni Weekend on Saturday, June 5 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

Becker says his life might have been dramatically different had he not accidentally taken a course in economics in his freshman year at Princeton University. Without that exposure, he might never have discovered his passion.

“I really do love this, and I feel I’m lucky,” Becker says. “I could have gotten into science or math, but I was lucky enough to find the field that best suits the talents I have.”


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