Peter Montiel

Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Jr. ’41 Professor of Economics, Emeritus

Students ask questions anticipating your likely response: “It depends.”

It’s not a cop out; it’s a critical lesson. When graduates from the Center
for Development Economics return to their countries to help formulate macroeconomic policy, the relative simplicity of theory confronts the complexities of the real world.

We may not have all the answers yet, you’re saying. But we know the right questions. Keep asking them. Keep gathering data.

That’s only one of many, many lessons your students take home. Long after graduation, they consult your authoritative books and their lecture notes from your classes.

And they appreciate more than just the models and analytical tools you’ve taught them and the real-world wisdom you’ve shared. They are grateful also for your infectious enthusiasm, engaging pedagogy, generous support and the phenomenal amount of time you devote to helping students, during and far beyond formal office hours.

You are a world-class scholar, a co-author through four editions of the definitive textbook on development macroeconomics and a consultant to central banks and financial institutions around the globe. We should also note that—among Williams undergraduates, graduate students and colleagues—your sense of humor is almost as legendary as your vast kindness.

After joining Williams in 1995 with experience at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, you soon took over as chair of the CDE. At that time, its finances were in peril and its continued existence threatened. You engineered a new funding model that saved the day. You laid the groundwork for sustained excellence and success; subsequent chairs, professors and CDE students—and the college as a whole—owe you enormous thanks.

And what do you have to say to that? Probably: “It depends.”

I hereby declare you the Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Jr. ’41 Professor of Economics, Emeritus, entitled to all the rights, honors and privileges appertaining thereto.

June 4, 2023