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New York City
November 2001

November 2001: In Brief

Columbia Professor Wins Nobel Prize in Economics

Columbia University professor, Josep Stiglitz was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics recently by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. Stiglitz won the award along with two other college professors—George Akerolof of the University of California, Berkeley and A. Michael Spence of Stanford University—for “their analyses of markets with asymmetric information.”

The Academy noted that Stiglitz “clarified the opposite type of market adjustment, where poorly informed agents extract information from the better informed.” Also, noted the Academy, Stiglitz’ emphasis on asymetric information “can provide the key to understanding many unobserved phenomena, including unemployment and credit rationing.”

Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank, became the latest of five Columbia faculty members in the last six years to win the revered prize. This is the third time a Columbia professor receive the Nobel Prize in economics.

Stiglitz has promoted the idea of government investment in public accommodations, such as schools. In his 35-year career, he has published a dozen books and more than 300 papers. Stiglitz’s Initiative for Policy Dialogue, intends to provide an alternative to the IMF and World Bank for countries in need of sound economic policy advice.

After receiving the phone call from the Nobel selection committee, Stiglitz “quickly switched from coffee to champagne” but has since said that his acceptance of the reward has been “tinged by the fact that many innocent people have died in recent days.”#

John Sexton Named NYU President

In May 2002, John Sexton will relieve L. Jay Oliva of the post he has held for 11 years and become the next president of New York University (NYU). Currently the Dean of the NYU School of Law where he is known for drawing some of the best law scholars onto his faculty, Sexton was unanimously nominated by the recommendation committee and unanimously elected by the Board of Trustees.

After receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. from Fordham and his J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard, Sexton served as a U.S. Supreme Court clerk under Warren E. Burger before eventually coming to NYU in 1981. He has taught throughout his time there and been a prolific writer. His works include Redefining the Supreme Court’s Role: A Theory of Managing the Federal Court System, a major 1,200-page volume, and Civil Procedure: Cases and Materials, which he co-wrote and is the most widely used of legal textbooks.

On Dr. Sexton’s nomination, Oliva said, “He has a deep understanding of the complex and critical relationship among the schools of a large research university such as this. While doing so much to enhance the School of Law, he has never lost sight of the proposition that great universities rest on a strong undergraduate program.”


Columbia Names New President

Lee C. Bollinger, president of the University of Michigan, has been named the 19th president of Columbia University. Bollinger will replace Dr. George Rupp who has been Columbia’s president since 1993, assuming his post in the summer of 2002.

“It [Columbia] occupies a unique position: a truly global university that is also part of the fabric of New York City. I am enthusiastic about joining in this continued educational and civic renaissance from the vantage point of Columbia’s presidency,” said Bollinger, who was described as “a dynamic leader and an academic visionary” by Henry L. King, chair of the search committee.

At Michigan, Bollinger was the chief executive officer of the University’s 19 schools and colleges, which draw 53,000 students from every state in the US and 130 countries.

In developing new initiatives and leading the legal battles to uphold the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policies in student admissions, Bollinger has been at the forefront of advancing programs that are considered critically important to colleges and universities across America. In addition, he is the author of various books, articles and essays on free speech and First Amendment issues including the critically acclaimed Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era.#


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