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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Economics

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Department of Economics

Department Events

Check out what our professors are doing and what upcoming events we're offering!

Heebner Donation

Those who studied with us know it well that the critical perspective in our teaching of economics goes way back and have had influence on many. Toward the end of 2018, our department learned that A. Gilbert Heebner, a retired economist, banker, and professor with PhD degree, and his spouse, Dorothy Kiler Heebner, a retired elementary school teacher, donated $200,000 to Dr. Heebner's alma mater, Department of Economics at the University of Denver. Mr. Heebner was influenced by one of the professors of economics in the 1940s when he studied economies at DU. In fact, he continued to study economics at the doctoral level later in his life.

The Heebners

Our department chair, Yavuz Yaşar received the donation from Heebners' nephew David Wuestner during his visit with his family to DU in June 2019. Our alumni Jason Reuter was also present at the event.

Donation Group Shot 2

David Wuestner provided us with the following information about Heebners:

"Born in Philadelphia of immigrant parents from Eastern Europe who met in Philadelphia, Dr. Heebner graduated from Philadelphia's Northeast High School in 1945. He was an excellent student who earned the distinction of valedictorian of his class.

After service in the U.S. Navy in 1945-46 where he completed his officer training program at both Bates and Dartmouth Colleges, he went on to attend the University of Denver on the GI Bill of Rights. While at Denver, a professor "turned him on" to economics which led to a Bachelor of Arts degree in this field. Upon graduation, Heebner returned home to Philadelphia after receiving acceptance into the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Upon his arrival back home, it became clear that his love for economics was greater than that of law. This life-changing decision resulted in an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Subsequent to his graduation, he left Philadelphia once again and went to teach economics for several years at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Gil returned home for good and joined Philadelphia National Bank (PNB) in 1945 where he served in various rolls within the organization. In the early 1960's, he was unexpectedly offered the opportunity to become PNB's first economist. Heebner also became the first economist among all Philadelphia banks. It was at this time that he resumed graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a Ph.D. in economics.

In 1952, Gil married Dorothy Kiler, an elementary school teacher who taught at both the Chandler School in Philadelphia and later at Pine Road School in Lower Moreland Township. She was a dedicated teacher for 30 years. The couple first met in second grade in northeast Philadelphia and were married for 65 years as of August 16, 2017. They traveled extensively in Europe, Great Britain, and Asia. Having no children, Gil and Dorothy maintained very close ties to their niece, two nephews, and their nine great nieces and nephews. An annual highlight was gathering with family at their summer home in Beach Haven, New Jersey, which they built together and enjoyed for 42 years."

DEPARTMENT SEMINARS

Throughout the year, our department offers seminars at 4:00 pm on Fridays. These seminars feature guest lectures, faculty and our students. Please come back to view our updated schedule.

Department News

September 2019: MA Program Alumni Sumaiya Saif was recently awarded the Colorado Women in Economics Fellowship. Read more about Sumaiya here

September 2019: MA Program Alumni and Adjunct Professor Chris Stiffler breaks down Colorado Worker Demographics and Minimum Wage Impacts with KDNK radio. Listen to his interview here.  

March 2019: Check out Dr. Piovani's recent work on gender and trade. She has published three articles on the topic. Be sure to check them out here, here, and here!

March 2019: Dr. Paula Cole lends her economics expertise to an interdisciplinary project examining Paid Family Leave in Colorado. Take a closer look at her research here.   

February 2018: Read here to learn more about Dr. Chiara Piovani's work as a consultant for the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development - Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities - Gender and Development Programme.   

August 2017: Henning Schwardt, Visiting Teaching Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics published his book, "The Path to a Modern Economics: Dealing with the Complexity of Economics Systems." This book illustrates how the treatment of complexity in analytical frameworks shapes economic studies. It explores the ways economists make sense of our economic environment and where their differences in interpretations of economic issues and policy proposals are rooted. Taking a theoretical approach and addressing different analytical frameworks, a basic distinction is introduced between top-down approaches, where assumptions about the economic environment are formulated at the outset; and bottom-up approaches, where an economic environment emerges from the interactions of the individual agents. Economic developments and changes in the role of the public sector serve to illustrate how analytical frameworks based on differing treatments of the complexity of the economic environment shape the interpretation of economic issues. Recognizing the validity of alternate perspectives on economic issues, a stronger foundation for economic research and policy can be formulated.