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STANFORD -- A new three-story center for economics research, teaching and conferences was dedicated at Stanford University on Wednesday, May 4, and named for a previously anonymous donor - Ralph Landau of New York City and San Francisco.
Landau, a consulting professor of economics at Stanford and co- founder and former chairman of Halcon SD Group, and his wife, Claire, gave $5 million for the $11-million building located at the corner of Serra and Galvez streets, next door to Memorial Auditorium and across the street from Hoover Tower.
Landau co-directs a research program on technology and economic growth at the Stanford Center for Economic Policy Research, which will be housed in the new building along with the university's Economics Department. He is a chemical engineer by training who became interested in economics in the late 1970s, when his company experienced the effects of interest rates approaching 20 percent.
The new Ralph Landau Center for Economics and Policy Research contains a conference center named for another donor, Donald L. Lucas of Menlo Park. Lucas, who holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Stanford, is a venture capitalist as well as a board member of a number of companies.
Another major donor to be honored at the dedication is Gordon A. Cain of Houston. Cain serves on the boards of several companies and is chairman of Sterling Chemicals Inc. and UltrAir.
The new 50,000-square-foot building, designed by the San Francisco firm of Anshen and Allen, is a delight to campus economists and economics students who have been cramped and scattered in buildings around campus in recent years.
"For the first time in a generation, economics faculty, graduate students, classrooms, computers and student services will be united in a single home," said John Shoven, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. Shoven, former director of the Center for Economic Policy Research, was instrumental in planning and fund-raising for the new building, along with Professors Gavin Wright and Larry Lau.
The policy center, currently directed by Wright, is a research unit focused on applying economics to current state and national policy issues such as tax and health care reforms and national technology and economic growth policies.
The Economics Department, chaired by Professor David Starrett, most recently was headquartered in Encina Hall but was forced to use work spaces for graduate students and visiting professors in other locations. "Finally, we will be able to hold most economics classes in our own space," Starrett said. The department also will provide work spaces for professors emeriti in the new building.
The new building places the department close to the Hoover Institution, the Graduate School of Business and the Food Research Institute, all of which have close links to economics.
The Donald L. Lucas Conference Center will provide a forum for interchange among policymakers, scholars and business leaders, Wright said, and should give Stanford economics faculty and researchers "a new visibility in national and international debates."
"The Pacific Rim is now emerging as a major action area in the world economy," he said, "and we want Stanford to be a center for the study of this new dynamism."
Classes will be held in the building's new lecture hall, classrooms and seminar rooms beginning next fall.
Economics is the university's largest undergraduate major and the department teaches many non-majors as well. In recent years, three of its faculty have served on the President's Council of Economic Advisers, including Michael Boskin, John Taylor and Joseph Stiglitz, who is currently on leave to serve there.
Others donors to the building project include William R. Hewlett and Franklin P. Johnson Jr., both of Palo Alto; Charles R. Schwab of Atherton; Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Thomas W. Ford and the F.S. Abu Zayyad family, all of Portola Valley; Peter S. Bing, Warner W. Henry, the Forman Family Fund and the Bowen H. McCoy and Janice Arthur McCoy Charitable Foundation, all of Los Angeles; Robert M. Bass of Ft. Worth, Texas; the Lamson Kwok family of Hong Kong; the Samsung Group of Seoul, Korea; the Friends of Stanford University Foundation of Taiwan; and the late Taikichiro Mori of Tokyo.
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