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President’s Message

Steven Sheffrin to Head the Murphy Institute in 2010

Good Morning:

I know it’s rare for me to send two Special Tulane Talks in one week but it is also rare to have two such high-profile appointments made in one week. Steven M. Sheffrin, professor of economics at the University of California, Davis and the director of its Center for State and Local Taxation, will become the new director of the Murphy Institute effective January 1, 2010. Pending completion of the normal process of academic review, Steve will also become a faculty member in Tulane’s economics department.

Many of you know the Murphy Institute for the conferences, seminars and lectures it hosts each year. Students know the Institute for its academic programs including one in political economy that is Tulane’s most popular interdisciplinary major. These and other efforts carry forth the Institute’s mission to further understanding of the economic, moral and political issues of our times.

Steve’s experience, including a recently completed 10-year term as dean of the division of social sciences at UC Davis, uniquely qualifies him to lead the Murphy Institute, one of Tulane’s most visible and productive academic centers. For in addition to earning a PhD in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Steve received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University, through an interdisciplinary program similar in philosophy to the Murphy Institute’s program in political economy.

Steve has remained engaged with this program over the years and dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach in his own research, which has evolved from macroeconomic theory and policy to public policy and public finance. Currently, he is pursuing an interdisciplinary project on tax fairness and has authored Rational Expectations and co-authored Property Taxes and Tax Revolts: The Legacy of Proposition 13, and Economics: Principles, Applications and Tools, an introductory economics textbook.

With the arrival of a new director and plans for a new home in the Richardson Building, this is an exciting time for the Murphy Institute. But it is also a bittersweet time as we say farewell to Rick Teichgraeber, who has been the director and tireless advocate for the Murphy Institute since 1984. The good news is that after a well-earned sabbatical Rick will return full time to the faculty.

Please join me in thanking Rick for his years of dedicated service and in welcoming Steve to Tulane.

I also want to thank Provost Michael Bernstein and the Search Committee, led by Tony Pereira, professor and chair of the political science department, for attracting such a high-quality candidate to Tulane.

Scott Cowen
President, Tulane University

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