Hugo Sonnenschein, 11th president of the University of Chicago, 1940-2021
“Hugo has always been an inspiring presence in the department. His wisdom and experience in faculty meetings and around seminar and lunch tables have enhanced our collective decision-making, ”said Professor Robert Shimer, Economics Chair Kenneth C. Griffin. “Her grace and equanimity made the work more enjoyable and productive. He has always been kind, supportive and optimistic. His advice has been invaluable to me as a researcher and more recently as a department director. I will miss him. “
Professor Philip J. Reny, who studied with Sonnenschein at Princeton University before becoming a colleague at UCicago faculty, described his mentor as a “giant” in the areas of general balance and balance. economic theory. As a graduate student at Princeton, Reny recalled a sketch that featured Sonnenschein as Fred Rogers on the PBS show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” a testament to an “elegant teaching style. , gentle and encouraging ”.
“Besides his genius, which was immense, his great asset was his ability to see the value of the ideas of his students which he nurtured better than anyone I know,” said Reny, now Hugo F. Sonnenschein Distinguished Professor at The Kenneth . C. Griffin Department of Economics. “He would never miss an opportunity to tell us that what we were doing was important work, which had a huge impact on us. He was one of the great scholars and mentors of his generation and will be deeply missed by all those he touched.
Matthew O. Jackson of Stanford University, another former student, said Sonnenschein was a “legendary” mentor who supported groundbreaking research in economic theory for many decades. “It’s not only that Hugo had an uncanny ability to ask the right questions and excelled at teaching others to do the same, but also that his advice and friendship were gifts for life,” Jackson said. “He loved people – getting to know them and being a part of their life. Despite the abundance of people for whom Hugo had a deep and sustained influence, he always treated you like family.
Born November 14, 1940, Sonnenschein grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He attended the University of Rochester, where his interest in mathematics led him to study economist Kenneth Arrow’s research on social choice. He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Rochester in 1961, and the following year married Elizabeth Gunn, whom he had met during his freshman year at Rochester.
Sonnenschein obtained a doctorate. in Economics from Purdue University in 1964. Later that year he was appointed assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, where he was on the faculty until 1970. He was then a professor at the University of Minnesota. University of Massachusetts 1970-1973; professor at Northwestern University from 1973 to 1976; professor at Princeton University from 1976 to 1988; faculty member and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania from 1988 to 1991; and rector of Princeton University from 1991 to 1993.
Sonnenschein was an honorary administrator of the University of Chicago and a member of the board of trustees of the University of Rochester. He was a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the American Philosophical Society, and Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. He was also a member of the Econometric Society (1972) and President of the Econometric Society (1988 to 1989, 1991).
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Gunn Sonnenschein, a retired cancer epidemiologist who served on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago and New York University; their three daughters, Leah, Amy and Rachel; and five grandchildren.