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Economics Department architect Bernard Haley dies at 94
STANFORD -- Bernard F. Haley, professor emeritus of economics, died Sunday, June 6, at Stanford Hospital after a fall and a stroke. He was 94.
Haley, who came to Stanford in 1919 as a freshman, eventually chaired the university's economics department for 13 years during the 1930s and 1940s. He took a leave during World War II to work for the Department of State and Office of Price Administration before coming back to Stanford, from which he retired in 1963.
After his retirement, Haley taught at the University of Santa Clara and at the University of California which asked him to help launch the economics department on the new Santa Cruz campus.
Never married, Haley lived with his elder sister Gwen on Salvatierra Street on campus for most of his adult life. After her death, he moved into the Pearce Mitchell apartments on campus, where friends say he was an active gourmet cook until his death.
He was to host a gathering of former colleagues at a Stanford Faculty Club luncheon 10 days before his death and was planning to see his niece, Haley Robbins King, become the ninth member of his family to graduate from Stanford, on Sunday, June 13. A nephew, Geoffrey Haley, is now at Stanford as a junior.
The senior Haley's former colleagues credit him with building Stanford's economics department into one of the best in the country. He also was influential as managing editor of the American Economic Review, the official journal of the American Economics Association, from 1952 to 1963.
"Stanford's economics department wasn't very good before the war, and he was tremendously successful at building it," said Tibor Scitovsky, a professor emeritus of economics who was among those Haley recruited to Stanford immediately after World War II.
When Scitovsky later became chair of the economics department at UC-Berkeley, he asked Haley to help launch the Santa Cruz economics department because of Haley's record at Stanford.
Moses Abramovitz, professor emeritus of economics, said that "Professor Haley was the founder and developer of modern economics at Stanford. It was he who brought the older group of notable scholars whose work first gave Stanford a place among the leading economics departments."
In addition, Abramovitz said, "Professor Haley set an unforgettable example of personal integrity, high scholarly standards and attention to the needs of our students. . . . We were encouraged to spend time with our students and to prepare our work carefully for graduates and undergraduates alike. He was a great teacher himself."
His principles got Haley special attention in 1964, when Clark Kerr, then the president of the University of California, accepted the seventh Alexander Meiklejohn Award from the American Association of University Professors. Kerr was receiving the award for his role in restoring to the University of California student body the freedom to invite speakers of their choice to campus. He singled out Haley, then vice president of the association, for giving him "my first lesson in the meaning of academic freedom."
Kerr said he was an acting assistant professor of economics at Stanford in 1939-40 when he gave a lecture on industrial relations that another Stanford professor disliked. The professor "went to the faculty club arguing that I should be discharged out of hand," Kerr said.
"He met there the chairman of my department [Haley], who defended my rights in the classroom, and who later told me to go ahead with what I was doing and that he would see to it that I was not penalized. I did go ahead, and he did protect me. I have always felt grateful to my first department chairman - Bernard Haley," Kerr said.
Haley was born Aug. 26, 1898, in St. John, New Brunswick in Canada and fought in France as a member of the Canadian Signal Corps during World War I. He came to the Bay Area after the war to attend the University of California but decided to go to Stanford instead because its school term began first, said Edward S. Shaw, a professor emeritus of economics who was one of Haley's early graduate students.
Haley earned his bachelor's degree in 1922 and master's in 1923, and began teaching at Stanford in 1924. He earned a doctorate from Harvard in 1933.
In April 1942, he took a leave from his teaching and administrative duties at Stanford to become an official in the U.S. government's Office of Price Administration. From 1943 to 1945, he held several posts in the State Department, where he worked on commodity trade agreements.
Haley published articles on general interest theory, mercantilism and one in 1941 on "the economic consequences of deficit financing" in the federal budget, Scitovsky said. In 1952, he edited the second volume of A Survey of Economics, a book that covers a broad range of then current economic topics.
"Economics in those days was not as specialized as now," Scitovsky said. "One was supposed to know all about economics, and he did. I think that was the reason he was able to recruit very good people to the department."
A patron of the arts, Haley especially loved classical music and gave an annual lecture at the Carmel Bach Festival for a number of years, said his nephew, Raymond Haley of Lake Tahoe.
He was a great dancer, cook and rose gardener, said Elizabeth Shaw, a longtime friend who served briefly as department secretary when Haley was chair.
Haley was preceded in death by his parents and five brothers and sisters. He leaves many nieces and nephews in Canada and the United States, Raymond Haley said. At the senior Haley's request, no memorial service is planned, he said.
"He's going to be teaching after death, "said niece King, " because he donated his body to the Stanford Anatomy Department."
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