Professor William Lord, a faculty member in the Department of Economics at UMBC for 30 years, passed away on Thursday, October 27.
Many in the campus community know that Bill suffered a heart attack on the Academic Row on October 11. Thanks to prompt and effective efforts by UMBC emergency health students, he survived this initial attack and had been making excellent progress in recovery. "I spoke with Bill by phone this past Saturday; his voice was very strong and his spirits were good. Thus, it was quite a shock to learn that he had another heart attack early Thursday morning and could not be revived," said David Mitch, chair of the Economics department
Bill made many contributions to the campus through teaching, research, and service in the department of economics and beyond. He was an active member of the UMBC community, including service on the UMBC Faculty Senate, University Academic Planning and Budget Committee, and as a faculty mentor to the Chesapeake Residence Hall community.
Bill joined UMBC’s economics department in 1986. Soon after his arrival, Bill became known for his contagious enthusiasm, wry sense of humor, and the intensity with which he approached his work in economics. Bill’s initial work was in the field of public finance in which he employed sophisticated simulation techniques to model complex economic interactions. He published articles in leading economics journals including the American Economic Review and the Journal of Public Economics.
One of Bill’s intellectual heroes was the Nobel Laureate economist Gary Becker, and as his research developed, Bill sought to incorporate Becker’s models of the economics of family life into his research. A trademark of Bill’s teaching was his ability to incorporate his own research interests into the content of his courses. An important example was the unique course he developed, titled "Household Economics," which has now been offered for many years as Economics 453.
Due to the way in which the course utilized life cycle models of family financial decisions, the department readily agreed to approve the course as satisfying a core requirement for its financial economics major.
Bill’s teaching in this course provided the foundation for his book, Household Dynamics: Economic Growth and Policy published by Oxford University Press in 2002. This book is unique for integrating dynamic decision making by households into the study of economic growth and for considering the collective implications of decision making by households on economic inequality and consequences for policy-making. The book is also salient for its emphasis on recent research, the rigor of its analysis, and the range of issues it considers. After completing this book, Bill became increasingly interested in American economic history. He sought to incorporate his previous interest in the economics of the household with long-run historical trends by mapping out a field he termed, "the macroeconomic history of the family" and in his teaching of a course on American Economic History. He had been nearing completion of a book manuscript with the working title, An Economic History of the American Family, with Social Implications.
Prior to his arrival at UMBC, Bill taught at St. Olaf College from 1983 to 1986. He received his B.A. in 1976, his M.A. in 1980, and his Ph.D in 1984–all in economics from Indiana University. Bill was a stalwart Hoosiers basketball fan.