Monday, January 2, 2023

Bennett McCallum, who was a member of the department’s faculty from 1967 to 1980 died on December 28, 2022 in Charlottesville.  Ben grew up in Texas, trained as an engineer at Rice and then earned an MBA at Harvard.  He studied economics at the graduate level at Rice earning his PhD in 1969.  Ben joined the Departmental faculty in 1967 as a microeconomist with a strong interest in econometrics, which he taught at the graduate level.  In 1974, he went on leave to the University of Chicago where he encountered Robert Lucas who was a central figure in the nascent rational expectations revolution in macroeconomics.  Ben came back from his year on leave as a macroeconomist and solidly in the intellectual vanguard of the rational expectations  movement.  He was key to Virginia being able to recruit several promising new assistant professors who themselves have gone on to prominence in economics.  

Ben was an ideal colleague –  intellectually curious and rigorous,  friendly with a great sense of humor, and a devoted departmental citizen.  It was a big loss for the Department  when Ben moved to Carnegie Mellon in 1980.  When he moved, he and his wife, Sally, kept their house in Charlottesville and returned often.  The McCallums were avid music fans and benefactors of the Ash Lawn (now Charlottesville) Opera.

At Carnegie Mellon,  Ben became the H.J. Heinz Professor of Economics, retiring in 2016. His research in monetary economics and policy is internationally respected and he has advised central banks around the world, including Japan and New Zealand. His professional recognitions include being a Fellow of the Econometric Society, co-editor of the discipline’s flagship journal, the American Economic Review, a member of the Shadow Open Market Committee, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.


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