Mar 27 2020

In memory of Richard Goeltz

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The LSE community is saddened by the loss of Honorary Fellow and Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award Recipient Richard Goeltz who passed away on March 23, 2020.

Richard attended LSE as a General Course student in 1962-63 and received his BA with honours in Economics from Brown University in 1964. He earned his MBA from Columbia Business School in 1966.

Richard had a distinguished career in corporate finance, serving most recently as Vice Chair and Chief Financial Officer of American Express from 1996 until his retirement in 2000. From 1992 to 1996, he served as Group Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of NatWest Group, the parent of National Westminster Bank, PLC.  Prior thereto, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at The Seagram Company Ltd.  He joined Seagram in 1970 as a financial analyst, was promoted to Treasurer in 1973 and to vice President, Finance, in 1976.  Before joining Seagram, he spent four years at Exxon as a financial analyst in the Treasury Department. In retirement, Richard served on several corporate boards including Aviva plc, Delta Airlines, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) and Warnaco. He was also a director of the European Equity, New Germany and Central Europe, Russia and Turkey Funds.

In addition to his corporate work, he was a trustee of the American Academy in Berlin, a director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra Trust, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Opera Orchestra of New York and member of American Friends of Covent Garden and the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School.

Richard believed that of all activities in retirement, his work with LSE was the most rewarding both intellectually and personally. He was a tireless supporter of the School who provided enormously generous and sage counsel. He was a long-time member of the Court of Governors and served for more than a decade on Council and many of its standing and ad hoc committees, including pre-Council Chairman’s meetings under Lord Grabiner and Peter Sutherland. He was a member of the Finance Committee and chaired the Business Modelling Group which was essential in strengthening the School’s financial planning process.

The fact that Richard and his wife Mary Ellen split their time between London and New York gave him a unique perspective on LSE, allowing him to be deeply involved with School governance while also serving as a key alumni supporter and advisor in North America. He was an inaugural member of the North American Advisory Board which has advised LSE’s Directors and raised funds for the School since its founding at the behest of Howard Davies in 2007, and served on the Board of the LSE Centennial Fund, now known as American Fund for LSE.  Richard and Mary Ellen warmly and generously hosted numerous events for LSE faculty, alumni and supporters at their homes on both sides of the Atlantic.

Richard was a significant, generous donor to LSE for many years and was listed on the Benefactors’ Board in 2013. He has supported numerous projects, including undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, the Library, the New Academic Building and the Annual Fund. The Richard Karl Goeltz Scholarship Fund and the Adeline and Karl Goeltz Scholarship Fund (named for his parents), support PhD students in the Department of Economics. When asked about his enthusiastic commitment to LSE, he said: “The School makes an investment in students that yields substantial returns for them and society. There is a supreme moral obligation for those who have benefited to help perpetuate a fine institution and enable successors to have the same opportunities and advantages. I hasten to add reciprocity does not mean only money. Time, talent, wisdom and work are equally valuable.”

For his enormous service and devotion to the School, Richard was made an Honorary Fellow in 2015. He also received the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award at the LSE Alumni Forum in New York in May of that same year.

Permeating all of Richard’s dealings with the School was his personal warmth, leading to friendships with many members of the wider School community on both sides of the Atlantic. In many cases his counsel to Chairs and Deputy Chairs of the Court and to successive Directors grew into friendship; and his friendships with academic colleagues, often through lunches whenever he was in London, were wide and deep. He wanted to talk about the School but was equally interested in discussing the research and policy work of individual academics. Those who were lucky enough to know him that way talk of a continuing dialogue punctuated by letters from Richard (mostly handwritten) accompanied by newspaper cuttings or book recommendations. The School has lost a great servant; many members of the School community also feel a deep personal loss.

Richard is survived by his wife of 31 years, Mary Ellen Johnson.

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Feb 27 2020

In memory of  Professor George Wedell (April 4, 1927- February 23, 2020)

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We are mourning the loss of Eberhard Georg (George) Wedell, a child refugee from Nazi-Germany who became an LSE student and dedicated his entire life to promote interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural communication.

Wedell’s grandfather was the Chief Rabbi of Hanover but his father had converted to Protestantism in 1914.  His godfather  was the renowned Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) whose statue is now carved onto the west front of Westminster Abbey as one of the martyrs of the twentieth century.  Wedell and his family were viewed by the Nazis as “Mischlings”, tainted by their Jewish origins.  He had childhood memories of Kristallnacht and was brought to England at the age of 11 with his mother and brothers in 1938. Their escape was secured by the cooperation of George Bell (1883 –1958), then Bishop of Chichester.

Scholarship at LSE

After schooling in Kent, Wedell came to LSE in 1944, studying first in its evacuated home of Peterhouse in Cambridge and then on Houghton Street after the war ended. He was given a free scholarship and described by his advisor of studies as “an exemplary sincere, high-minded and intelligent man”, “a very good worker who seems certain to make a mark in the world.” While at LSE, Wedell was president of the Student Christian Movement, a significant force at the time for ecumenical cooperation and reconciliation across the world. On graduation, he worked full time for the movement, reflecting his lifelong commitment to the practical expression of faith. Wedell and his wife Rosemarie (1920-2010) also developed an active interest in interfaith dialogue, a cause which he continued to support within LSE.

Distinguished career in communication and education

The twin spheres of education and broadcasting have fed into one another throughout Wedell’s career. In 1950 he became a civil servant working in the Department of Education, but moved in 1958 to be Secretary of the newly created Independent Television Authority. His creative mind and commitment to the ideals of independent public service broadcasting led to a move into academia, taking the Chair of Adult Education at the University of Manchester. Both adult education and media were new disciplines at this time and Wedell dramatically expanded research in both fields, encompassing higher education, social development, broadcasting policy and regulation of advertising. His first book of 1968, Broadcasting and Public Policy, was groundbreaking and took him all around the world lecturing and advising governments on both broadcasting and education. He had a particular interest in the developing world, reflected in publications such as Education and the Development of Malawi (1973) and Broadcasting in the Third World (1977, with Elihu Katz).

Commitment to Europe

In 1973 Wedell  transferred to Brussels where he headed up the European Commission division for employment and retraining. He became a prominent figure within the Commission and after he left, to return to the University of Manchester, in 1982 he founded the European Institute for Media (EIM) of which he became director. In this post Wedell drew scholars from this emerging discipline together and contributed significant research to the field. Consonant with Wedell’s ’s ideals, the EIM was not merely a centre of academic research but a driver for the positive role of media in social change, particularly the democratization of former communist countries in which Wedell was significantly involved.

Honorary doctorate from LSE

Wedell received numerous awards and accolades in his lifetime. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and a Commander of the Order of Merit in Portugal. Wedell received an honorary doctorate from LSE in 2017. LSE was a safe haven where a young German refugee was able to develop his extraordinary intellectual potential and passion to improve the world around him. His lifelong commitment to communication, education, development international cooperation and Europe helped to fashion a world where the horrors of his childhood hopefully are less likely to recur.  His accomplished life and noble legacy have brought distinction to LSE and his life and work exemplify our ideals.

James Walters, Director, LSE Faith Centre
with
Terhi Rantanen, Professor of Global Media and Communications

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Jan 7 2020

Sylvia Chant, 24 December 1958 – 18 December 2019

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Sylvia Chant

Sylvia Chant

Sylvia Chant, Professor of Development Geography, who has died at the age of 60, was a world-leading feminist geographer who fundamentally shaped the field of gender and international development. She was a pioneering and passionate advocate of the need to recognise women’s roles in international development which she argued in various ways in her 18 authored or edited books and over 150 papers. Beginning with Women in the Third World (1989) (with Lynne Brydon), this book was the first of its kind arguing for the importance of analysing women’s roles in rural and urban areas of the developing world. Sylvia went on to develop ground-breaking conceptual, empirical and policy-engaged work on the gendered nature of poverty, inequalities and urbanisation, all based on meticulous fieldwork and a deep feminist commitment to the transformative power of research. She was also a dedicated teacher whose kindness, generosity and vision have left a deep and lasting legacy within and beyond the academy, and far and wide globally.

In her lifelong quest to challenge gender blindness in researching and teaching international development, Sylvia brought her characteristic fervour to revealing and understanding the lives of women living in poor urban communities, and especially those heading their own households. She did this through profoundly engaged fieldwork in Mexico, Costa Rica, the Philippines, and the Gambia as well as through sustained theoretical innovation. As the world’s leading expert on female-headed households and poverty, Sylvia dedicated many years of her career to arguing against simplistic understandings of the feminisation of poverty and the misleading ways in which this was causally linked with female household headship in mainstream policy formation and much academic literature. She developed these arguments in her books, Women-headed Households (1997) and Gender, Generation and Poverty (2007) as well as in numerous papers as recently as 2019 in Feminist Economics. She not only theorised an alternative to the feminisation of poverty through the much more nuanced ‘feminisation of responsibility and/or obligation’ to show how women are increasingly burdened with dealing with poverty, but she consistently called out those who insisted on using erroneous and homogenising data and research to portray the lives of women in the global South. Reflecting her profound personal and academic generosity, Sylvia was always keen to collaborate and co-author with others and to share her ideas. This is perhaps best reflected in the hugely impressive edited collection International Handbook of Gender and Poverty (2010) comprising over 100 chapters from 125 established and early career authors.

Sylvia was born in Dundee to June and Stuart, a microbiologist, on 24 December 1958. She grew up in London and attended Lady Margaret School in Parson’s Green and subsequently, Kingston College for sixth form before studying for a BA in Geography at King’s College, Cambridge. It was at Cambridge that she developed her feminist sensibility and disquiet at the lack of female role models in the academy as well as an awareness of the male bias inherent in existing work on the geographies of international development.  After Cambridge, being well-versed in feminist writing gleaned from her membership of an inter-collegiate women’s group at Trinity Hall, and determined to challenge the gendered status quo, Sylvia began her fully-funded PhD at University College London in 1981 under the supervision of Professor Peter Ward (and Professor Alan Gilbert) studying the role of women in the construction and consolidation of self-help housing in Querétaro, Mexico. Indeed, this ground-breaking study was one of the first ever to recognise women as key actors in self-build housing in poor urban communities. This research laid the foundations for Sylvia’s enduring commitment to exploring the geographies of gender in the developing world as well as her belief in the importance of empirical research rooted in sustained fieldwork. Just as in her life in general, Sylvia had a gift for engaging with people, for interviewing them with great integrity and warmth. People opened up to her because they trusted her and knew that she was genuinely interested in their lives and in making the world a better place.

Following a period as a post-doctoral researcher at University College London, Sylvia moved to the University of Liverpool where she shared a post between Geography and the Institute of Latin American Studies for over a year before moving to the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics in 1988 where she remained for the rest of her career with an important affiliation with the School’s Gender Institute from 1992 onwards (she also held visiting professorships at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla in Spain, as well as the universities of Fribourg, Bern and  Gothenburg). It was at LSE that Sylvia carved out her position as a global authority on gender, poverty and development. Among her many accolades, in 2013 she was featured as a Global Thinker on Gender and Poverty in Robin Cohen and Paul Kennedy’s [eds] Global Sociology and in 2015 she was appointed as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, which described her as a “world-leading figure in international social science, helping to stake out the field of gender and development”. She was also the President of the Society for Latin American Studies, UK, from 1997-9.

Sylvia was a wonderful teacher who inspired many generations of undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students. A natural communicator with a wonderful sense of humour and fun, Sylvia’s lectures and seminars were fabled far beyond LSE. She was especially proud of her PhD students whom she assiduously and kindly mentored along with numerous early career scholars as a core aspect of her feminist ethical philosophy on her working life. Indeed, her support of younger generations of scholars was legendary and has ensured the continued health of so much feminist research in the global South and international development policy where many of her students have ended up.

Sylvia herself made extremely important contributions to the development policy world reflecting her commitment to engendering positive change in the global South. Her engagement with policy-makers included working as an advisor or consultant for, among others, UNFPA, UN-DESA, Commonwealth Secretariat, UN-Habitat, the ILO, UNICEF, ECLAC, the UNDP, and the World Bank. She was also an expert advisory group member on the UN Women State of the World’s Women 2018: Families in a Changing World: Public Action for Women’s Rights and co- lead author of the UN-Habitat’s first ever report on the State of Women in Cities 2012/13. As well as shaping international gender policy through her engagement with these organisations, Sylvia also worked on the ground to institute change. Most notable was her work striving to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGMC) in the Gambia alongside the Gambian human rights organisation, GAMCOTRAP, whose campaigning led to the final outlawing of FGMC in November 2015. Her work within and beyond the Gambia was pivotal in this landmark ruling.

As one of the world’s most respected feminist development geographers, Sylvia’s work has transformed thinking and policy-making on gender and poverty and her inspirational teaching has created an amazing legacy of talented people across the globe who think about the world through a gendered lens.

Sylvia’s stellar career was matched by a wonderfully rich personal life full of legions of friends, a very close and loving family and numerous passions and interests. She was a keen photographer and photographic documenter, a gym fanatic and bicyclist, a cinema goer and avid reader, and she had a passion for stylish clothes and jewellery. She also loved animals, music, to dance and to travel, but maybe most of all she enjoyed catching up with her family and friends, sharing a drink, a joke and an experience, revelling in the simple pleasure of the human company of those most dear to her.

Sylvia is survived by her husband Chris, her mother June, her two sisters Adrienne and Yvonne, four of her five nieces and nephews, and her five godchildren.

Professor Cathy McIlwaine, Professor of Development Geography, King’s College London

The funeral service will be held on Wednesday 15 January 2020, 2pm at St. Marylebone Crematorium, East End Road, East Finchley, London, N2 0RZ.

Charitable donations may be made to the RSPCA.

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Dec 19 2019

Michael Peacock

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Michael Peacock

Michael Peacock

It was with sadness that we learnt of the death of LSE alumnus and emeritus governor Michael Peacock, who died in December 2019.

Michael was well-known in broadcasting, where he had a long career and significant impact, but he also had a longstanding link with the School, graduating in Sociology in 1952 before joining the BBC as a trainee producer.

As editor of Panorama, he was behind the programme’s notorious 1957 April fool’s joke of the Swiss spaghetti harvest. He went on to be editor of BBC Television News, the first head of new channel BBC 2 – responsible for programmes such as Match of the Day, Horizon and the Likely Lads – managing director of London Weekend Television and executive vice-president of Warner Bros Television, in addition to many other roles.

In 1972 he co-founded Video Arts, a company making management training films, which was eventually sold in 1989. This enabled the establishment of a charitable foundation which generously provided scholarships at LSE for students from former Soviet and Eastern European countries.

In 1996 his foundation provided LSE with a record gift which allowed the School to buy what was then the Royalty Theatre. Now known as the Peacock Theatre, it remains a crucial venue for the School, in regular use for lectures, public events, twice-yearly graduation, as well as dance and opera performances through Sadler’s Wells.

A longstanding member of LSE Council -from 1982 to 2009-  Michael was appointed an LSE Fellow in 2004 and subsequently an Emeritus Governor.

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May 28 2019

Professor Anthony Leslie Hall (1947 – 2019)

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Anthony Hall

Anthony Hall

Tony will be much missed, both for his calm steady presence and his sense of humour. Since joining LSE in 1983, he was instrumental in linking social policy with international development and in making the Department’s MSc in Social Policy and Development a success. His longstanding research on Brazil and the Amazon region has been highly influential. More recently Tony’s interests in climate change adaptation and conditional cash transfers led to important research in both fields. The care and attention he always took with his students set an example to us all.

Professor David Lewis, Department of Social Policy

 

Tony Hall made a vital contribution to the evolving field of developmental social policy – a ‘supradisciplinary’ field that seeks to integrate the insights of development studies and social policy to promote a comprehensive approach to understanding how social wellbeing can be fostered globally.

He joined the Department in the early 1980s to work with me on the social policy and planning courses Richard Titmuss and Brian Abel-Smith had established in 1971, and after I left for the United States in 1985, we continued to collaborate on several initiatives that helped shape the field. In addition to our book, Social Policy for Development (2004), we worked together on several edited collections and international conferences. His own research on Amazonian development, which is widely commended, was of critical importance in linking rural and environmental issues to developmental social policy research. He was an accomplished scholar, an inspiring teacher and effective administrator. The graduates of the social planning courses, who have assumed leading roles in government agencies, international non-profits and development organisations committed to developmental social policy, owe much to his leadership.

He was also a great friend and together with his late wife, Rejane, a generous host. My wife Dija and I were privileged to share their family life and know their children Julie and Joe. We send our deepest condolences to them and other members of their family. I will miss Tony’s quite humour, critical mind and steadfast friendship.

Professor James (Jimmy) Midgley, University of California Berkeley

 

It was with great sadness that I received the news of Tony passing on Monday 20 May 2019.

I became familiar with Tony’s work while writing my masters dissertation on the globalisation of the Brazilian Amazon in the Department of Geography, at King’s. I decided to stay at King’s after my Masters, and we invited him to be the 3rd reader for my PhD.  I continued to follow his work, which showed his passion for the region, by attending his talks and discussing with him my research in the Amazon.

Despite conducting work in Brazil for 40 years, Tony was humble about his impressive contribution to social policy, environment and development scholarship, particularly concerning the Brazil North-East and Amazonia. He never seemed to notice how much his work has been touching so many people. Tony’s research, accurate accounts and relevant inputs have had an impact beyond academia, as he acted as OXFAM’s country representative and as a consultant for the World Bank.

Tony was an inspiration to many PhD researchers working on environmental policies. My friends from CLOSER, a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research group focusing on Brazilian environmental politics, were no different. Tony has been a source of inspiration for every member of our research group. We were six young PhD students with various research backgrounds, from different London universities who had some things in common: an interest in Brazil from a social and environmental perspective and a willingness to improve and share our knowledge. Tony was a doctoral thesis examiner to some, advisor to others, and research godfather to all of us.

His legacy shall endure in every former PhD student and the many peers whose work has crossed paths with him.

Dr. Grace Iara Souza, SOAS, University of London

 

A tribute and donation page can be found at Dementia UK.

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Apr 15 2019

Sergio Carlos Obando Indacochea, 1971-2019

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Segio Carlos Obando IndacocheaSergio was a student on the Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy Programme, 2018/19.

Originally from Peru, Sergio lived in London for over 17 years. He was Economist and Course Director for Pre-Master’s Business Programmes at Ulster University, London Campus. His professional work experience was mainly in multinational American corporations, both as an entrepreneur and in academia. He also conducted research on various ways to tackle poverty, inequality and conflict. His work combined learning from various disciplines including anthropology, religion, politics, business, finance, public policy and international relations.

 

The  Director of the programme – Emeritus Professor Michael Cox – added:

“Sergio was an active and valued student. He had great passion for the subject-matter of international strategy and diplomacy, was a lively contributor to class debates, and delivered several memorable and always well-prepared presentations”.

Sadly though, on 23 March 2019, he tragically lost his battle with leukaemia. He will be a much-missed colleague and friend. His peers on the Executive MSc Programme have made and encourage donations in Sergio’s memory to Leukaemia.org.uk.

Our thoughts and hearts go out to Sergio’s wife, Susan, and their two sons.

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Mar 26 2019

Michael Coops

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Michael Coops

Michael Coops

Michael died on 11 March aged 89, 29 years almost to the day since his most lasting achievement for the School.

Following a career at the Court Department and medical schools of the University of London, Michael was appointed in the late 1980’s to head up the LSE Estates Division and played a significant role in the School’s estate development for some ten years, either in an executive role or in major project management.

He was part of the team which negotiated the freehold of the Old Building, the contract being signed by then Director I G Patel on 21 March 1990. This, along with the acquisition of Connaught House, set in train a programme of acquiring the freeholds of the School’s buildings, and was the foundation for later estate development and acquisitions.

Michael’s work in and around the LSE estate brought him many surprises, including trying to work out how three drunks had managed to steal a 65kg penguin sculpture from the middle of the site!

Michael was unfailingly courteous and measured but had a steely side: he was always determined to pursue the best interests of LSE. Although coming here relatively late in life, Michael adopted the School in his affections, attending many SCR functions for retired staff until his late eighties.

Michael’s funeral will be held at 1pm on Friday 5 April at St Mary’s Church, Greyhound Hill, Hendon; followed by a wake at the Three Hammers pub, Hammers Lane, Mill Hill, NW7. Michael’s family welcome the chance to chat with LSE people after the service.

Adrian Hall

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Mar 12 2019

Professor David Held

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Professor David Held

Professor David Held

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Professor David Held, formerly Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science at LSE, and Founder and Joint Director of the Centre for Global Governance. To many in the Government Department he was a colleague, teacher, mentor and friend, but a mere departmental affiliation was never going to be enough for David and he collaborated with colleagues and students across most of the departments in the School.

I first met David when he was a young visiting lecturer at the University of York and I was an undergraduate. He had recently published his first book Introduction to Critical Theory (1980) and was an exciting and dynamic theorist of the left. This was only the first of many books but it remains the best introduction and guide to its subject and is still valuable to serious scholars. His subsequent career took him to the Open University as Professor of Politics and Sociology where he was an influential figure and where he built his reputation as theorist of democracy (with books such as Models of Democracy 1988, Political Theory and the Modern State 1989 and Prospects for Democracy 1993) and demonstrated the entrepreneurial spirit which so characterised his career with the his co-founding with Anthony Giddens and John Thompson of Polity Press in 1994. Polity proved a huge success as a source of cutting edge social science books at affordable prices and as a publisher of English translations of most of the great contemporary European social and political theorists such as Bourdieu and Habermas.

Whilst Tony Giddens was Director of LSE it was no surprise that David would join him. David came to LSE in 1999, first as a visiting professor and then as the successor to Brian Barry in the newly titled Graham Wallas Chair. Two more different characters would be hard to find – Brian was a conduit for American Political Science to reshape political theory in the UK, whereas David, despite his graduate training at MIT, was deeply connected to the European Tradition of Social and Political Theory. For Barry the paradigm was John Rawls, for Held it was Jurgen Habermas. Yet in many ways they were very similar in their social democratic approach, cosmopolitanism and their commitment to the value of social science research for the public good.

At LSE David continued to be entrepreneurial, founding programmes such as the MSc in Global Politics, founding and directing the Centre for Global Governance, leading the Ralph Miliband lecture series as a major public lecture programme for leading social and political theorists, and for intellectually engaging practitioners and public intellectuals. All the while David kept up a prodigious publication schedule that shifted its focus in the ‘noughties’ towards the theorisation of Globalisation and its implications for Cosmopolitan political theory and for Global Governance in such works as Global Transformations 1999, Globalization/ Anti-Globalization 2002, Global Covenant 2004 and Cosmopolitanism: Ideals and Realities 2010. He almost single-handedly, (he did have some close collaborators) built a subject of enquiry and a sub-discipline. In the way of all academic success stories he attracted critics but he usually managed to bring them around to his conclusions with his personal charm and engaging manner, or else he incorporated their positions into a higher synthesis which advanced his own work. David was a builder, not a demolisher and he was more concerned about informing progressive politics than being the smartest man in the room, although he often was.

His departure to Durham in 2012, where he became master of University College, was a sad loss to LSE. His career continued to flourish with the success of the journal Global Policy, which began at LSE but took off during his time at Durham. He remained in contact with many LSE scholars, but David’s stage was always Global so he was not constrained by the move. The announcement of his sudden death is a shock and cause of deep sadness to many who benefitted from his personal kindness, his intellectual stimulation and his mentorship. He added considerably to the life of LSE and will be remembered fondly by very many students, colleagues and friends.

Professor Paul Kelly

Department of Government

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Jan 24 2019

Martin Wright, 1952 – 2019

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Martin Wright

Martin joined LSE Estates Division in 1993 and worked in the post room until 2011, when he took medical retirement due to Parkinson’s disease.

Martin was very well regarded by everyone he came into contact with – he enjoyed long debates on politics, the war and his love of music.

Martin was also a big forerunner for recycling at LSE (many years before it became fashionable)… His home was usually full of bits of timber, old shelves, and many other items found in skips around the School that he “would find a use for”.

He was a gentle gentleman who made a lot of people’s lives just that little bit better for having him in it.

His family have asked that any donations be made Parkinson’s UK in Martin’s name. – Tony Simpson

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Dec 10 2018

Alan Day

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Alan Day

Alan Day

With great sadness, we announce the death of Alan Day on 2 December aged 94 after a long period of ill-health.

The School owes a huge debt of gratitude for his pivotal role in heading off an existential threat when the government in 1979 – almost overnight – withdrew taxpayer support for foreign students.

Alan Day was the Pro-Director (singular) in a highly successful double act with Ralf Dahrendorf.  In autumn 1979, a few weeks into his term of office, he recognised the potential loss of income for an institution 38% of whose students were from overseas, shepherded a proposal to introduce fees of £2,000 per year through School committees, and took executive action to send three colleagues (I was one, so saw the process from the inside) to the USA to recruit General Course students.

Those policies plus his wider activities as Pro-Director led to an unprecedented second term, from which he resigned in 1983 on doctor’s advice, having had surgery for renal cancer, and took early retirement the following year. He was made an Honorary Fellow in 1988.

Ralf Dahrendorf was very clear about Alan’s key role .

‘Let me say again what I said to you before: as Pro-Director you have left traces in the history of the School which will not be forgotten. These are traces of style and of commitment, but also of tangible contributions to the survival of the School’ (letter to Alan Day (26 June 1983).

Those achievements were superimposed on a distinguished career as academic, policy adviser and what today we would call a public intellectual. After a First in the Economics Tripos at Cambridge, he was appointed Assistant Lecturer in 1949 by Lionel Robbins as part of rebuilding the department after the war, and promoted to Reader in 1956 and to Professor of Economics in 1964, having turned down a chair at Yale.

Thus his career spanned some of the giants of LSE economics – Lionel Robbins, Bill Phillips, Basil Yamey, Peter Bauer, Harry Johnson, Frank Hahn, Terence Gorman, Amartya Sen and Tony Atkinson. Appointed within a year of each other, Alan and Bill Phillips became close friends, sharing their wartime experiences (which Bill shared with virtually nobody else), and Alan was instrumental in introducing Bill to his future wife, and subsequently was best man at Bill and Valda’s wedding.

His many School roles included a successful and popular spell as Convener of the Economics department and membership of a wide range of School committees.

Alongside his academic work as a monetary economist, Alan had a particular gift for translating theory into policy, leading to a role advising Labour Minister Anthony Crosland and to membership of government commissions including the Layfield Committee on Local Government Finance, spells as Economic Adviser to HM Treasury and to the Civil Aviation Authority, and membership of the board of the British Airports Authority.

Connected was a gift for explaining economics to a wide readership, exemplified by his regular articles in the Observer (he had an awesome ability to draft in ink rather than pencil, and for his first draft, with hardly a change, to become the final version).

At least as important as his accomplishments was Alan the person. He was instinctively tolerant of views different from his and, alongside colleagues like Michael Wise (Professor of Geography), created an atmosphere in the Senior Common Room in which young lecturers could trade ideas with senior colleagues in a relaxed way – something that has become a hallmark of the School. As a beneficiary, I look back at those times with gratitude, and over a longer period to Alan’s role as mentor and friend. On a personal note, it was Alan who suggested that my prospective book on the welfare state should include discussion of student loans – the genesis of my work on higher education finance.

In sharp contrast to Alan’s tidy mind was a desk that typically looked as though an earthquake had struck. At a time when, as Pro-Director, he had one of the School’s only phones that allowed international direct dialling, he let me use his office to organise a US recruiting trip. My starting point was an archaeological dig to uncover some desk space.  Whether as a counterpoint to his desktop or connected with Bill Phillips’ early research with computers, Alan had a keen interest in electronics, and in the early 1980s was instrumental in introducing word processing (as it was then called) to the School. He also had a seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of international flight timetables.

An inveterate smoker, he stopped when he became ill in 1983 but denied that he had given up, insisting that he was merely taking a longer-than-usual gap between cigarettes.  That illness struck early in his very happy marriage to Shirley, who nursed him through that episode and devotedly through his long last period of ill-health. In between they enjoyed 35 years of great happiness in active retirement turning a wreck of a Grade II listed building in Kent (collapsed plaster, peeling paint, curtains in rags) into a place of great beauty but simultaneously warm and welcoming.  That great project was interspersed with regular trips to London and wide-ranging travel abroad.

Nicholas Barr, 3 December 2018

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