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Business Economics & Public Policy


  In Memoriam:
Professor Katherine Terrell

It is with extreme sadness that we announce the death of Professor Katherine Terrell on Tuesday, December 29th, in the Dominican Republic.

Professor Terrell was a great friend and colleague to so many of us at the Ross and Ford Schools at Michigan, and many others at Michigan and around the world. Our goal with this page is to create a lasting memory of the ways in which she affected the lives of all those who knew her.

If you have a memory or story about Katherine that you would like to share, please send them to and we will post them on this webpage.

Ross School Remembrance

Ford School Remembrance

Kathy Terrell's Homepage

Also, an endowment fund, The Kathy Terrell Endowment Fund for International Education, is being established. Contributions can be made to the fund at:

The University of Michigan
735 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Professor Katherine Terrell



Kathy with her BBA students on the 2009 CIBE summer program in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Pictures taken by Kelsey Brunette, BBA Junior


  Kathy and I were not particularly close personally, nor did we always see eye to eye. But we were comrades and always on the same side. It was much better to have Kathy on your side than against you. As others have mentioned, she was principled and tenacious and would fight for what she thought was right, even if it were a losing battle. She had integrity, passion and determination, and a strong sense of justice, based on her reaction to her experiences growing up in Latin America.
     Kathy and I saw the world through very similar lenses, but she was so much stronger and more committed. For example, I could only take being a member of the President’s Labor Standards and Human Rights Committee for one year, so exasperated was I by the student activists’ aversion to rigorous analysis, open-minded learning, and seeing the world through the circumstances of others. But Kathy stayed on the Committee for many years, rendering service well above and beyond the call of duty.
     Kathy and I also fought together to save International Business as a separate field and department in the Business School of which we were both members. But when we lost, it was she who kept the field alive by shepherding the remnant International Business PhD program, now housed in the Business Economics department, helping to preserve its glory of the previous forty years. Kathy truly put her brilliant mind, her warm heart, and her preciously short time on this earth, to work on sustaining and promoting her beliefs—a shining example for all of us who are so caught up in the demands of our daily lives and work that we “don’t have the time”.
     Finally, Kathy had a keen eye as well as empathy for people. Fairly early on, shortly after she got to know my husband, who also had worked in Latin America in his youth, she rendered the observation that her relationship with Jan, and mine with Pete, were very similar. Or as she put it, our husbands were “cool” whereas both she and I were “hot”, including in the expression of grievances we shared against others, and disagreements we had with each other.
     Kathy, I will miss you greatly. Thank you for being a comrade—as they say, through thick and thin.

Linda Lim


  I learned of Kathy’s passing when I returned to work after the holiday break. I, as many others, was shocked by this horrible news. I found myself reading the email twice to make sure there was no mistake in what I read. I immediately thought of Jan and their children and how they must be feeling at such a terrible loss. This past fall I had worked with Kathy more closely than I ever had since the BE department merged with IB and we gained the IB-BE PhD students as part of that merge. Kathy and I worked on putting together the IB-BE PhD annual all day seminar in November of 2009. It was obvious to me that her students meant a lot to her and she always tried to do what was best for them. During the past several days since Kathy’s passing, I have learned so many things about her. I’m only sorry that I never got the chance to know her better. Her death leaves a void in many lives but her memory will live on forever. May she rest in eternal peace.

My heart goes out to Jan and the family. May God grant you peace and comfort in the days ahead.

Cheryl Strickland


  One week Kathy was here, spicing up the department holiday party and collaborating on a proposal to hire more young faculty members to work on sustainable development. The next week she was gone. I am sure we all felt shocked and numbed by the sudden loss of our vibrant, strong colleague. Kathy was someone I could always count on to tell it like it is, to be authentic, and to work towards the common good. She was a breath of fresh air, vital, resilient, tough but somehow warm and sweet at the same time. She was the heart and soul of our PhD program in Business Economics, and brought a depth of caring to all of her interactions with our doctoral students. There is no way to replace her. But we can honor her memory by keeping alive her passion, grit, optimism and commitment to make the world a better place.

Tom Lyon


  I miss Kathy so much. I was so shocked by the news and I still could not believe that Kathy was no longer in her office waiting for us to talk with her. When I arrived in Ann Arbor several years ago, Kathy was the first person who gave me warmest welcome and made me feel like joining a big family. Kathy cared about her students so much and made every effort to help them find out their research topics, career paths, funding and job opportunities, etc. She made comments on each referee report I submitted and her words were always encouraging and inspiring. Just several days before Christmas, I met Kathy in Ford School and she gave me detailed instructions on how to avoid the construction site in front of Ford School and find the best route back to business school. Now I still take that route to Ford school, but Kathy is not there… She was such a nice advisor and friend. She will be in our memory forever.

My warmest regards and deepest sympathies,

Bo Zhao, Doctoral Candidate in Business Economics


  Like everyone who knew Kathy, I was shocked and saddened to learn of her passing over the holidays. Kathy was an ideal mentor to me, and it is no exaggeration to say that I would not have been able to complete my doctoral studies without her advice and guidance. She was a warm person with a lively sense of humor, and always encouraged me to do my best. She was honest, too: when my work wasn’t up to standard she would not mince words. It is this combination of compassion and integrity that I remember most about Kathy. And her work ethic: always busy! It was a challenge to keep up with her; I often wondered where she found the stamina. Yet she always found time for her students, no matter how busy, and usually she was smiling amidst the chaos.

You were a wonderful advisor and friend, Kathy. I still can’t believe you are gone.

Mike Troilo, Assistant Professor at the University of Tulsa


  I am saddened at the recent passing of Dr. Terrell but am happy I had the pleasure of knowing her when I was at the University of Michigan. I met Kathy Terrell when I was a graduate student (2002) in the MPP program at the Gerald R. Ford School. She was always supportive of students and supported our effort to go to Havana, Cuba to learn about education and health policy. She was a kind person and will be greatly missed.

Gladys Mitchell, Social Science Research Institute Fellow, Duke University


  I will remember Kathy with great admiration and fondness. From the Memorial Service, it was clear that Kathy lived her life to the fullest—despite a prolonged and serious illness. She also was warm and engaging. When Arvids and I moved to Ann Arbor, she and Jan welcomed us into their home for wonderful food and conversation. When I commented on the work of her students, she made a special point of stopping by to thank me in person. When I last spoke with Kathy in December, the conversation naturally turned to research and ideas we could pursue together. She never put on airs or acted self-important. Rather, she graciously shared with me her time, ideas, and compassion.

Kathy’s vibrant “spark” and kind spirit will be sorely missed. I offer sincere condolences to Jan, her children and family, and her many friends within the university and around the world.

--Rosemarie Ziedonis (Strategy Department)


  As would anyone who had the privilege of knowing her, I was saddened when I learned that Professor Terrell had passed away. Last year, as a second-year student at the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, I had the pleasure of taking a labor economics course with Professor Terell. She was an excellent educator, mentor, and all-around inspiration. Not having a strong quantitative background, she had the utmost patience with my learning and academic development as a graduate student. She always pushed me to the limits, challenging me think critically, diligently, and beyond the box. Thanks in part to her, not only did I improve my quantitative skills, but she helped me realize my full academic and professional potentials. From this day forward I will always remember her advice, tutelage, unparalleled great character, and, of course, her beautiful smile. May she rest in eternal peace and may her legacy live on forever.

With my warmest regards and deepest sympathies,

Erik A. Fonseca, MPP '2009, Gerald Ford School of Public Policy


  Kathy and I worked closely together on a number of projects, going back to her first years here at Michigan, the most recent one being our study abroad program in Costa Rica. She was a great colleague, full of passion and ideas, and always a strong advocate for our students. She was a fierce advocate for international education of all types—the doctoral program in international business, Latin American studies, and all types of experiential learning. That she was widely admired in two very different places—the business school and the Ford school—is evidence of her intellectual breadth and professional dedication. Kathy was also one of those people who made the university work as a community, not only by bridging the gap between two professional schools, but by projecting warmth and empathy and in every social and professional situation. I will miss her greatly.

Brad Farnsworth


  I was completely shocked and saddened to hear about Kathy. I always admired Kathy’s commitment to exposing others to emerging market issues. I remember a few years ago when she approached me about taking on a course she had run with students the year before. She had taken the students to Cuba the preceding year and put together a core group of students who would work on the following year’s course. She allowed the students to play a major role in the development and focus of the course. I remember thinking at the time that I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but she assured that it would be fine. She was right – it did work out. Through that course I learned how effectively she was able to engage the students not just in the content but also the learning process. I also learned how much work she put into this year after year (I know she ran a similar course at the Ford School). On a more personal note, I always enjoyed interacting with her very much. She was outgoing and anxious to hear what was going on both professionally and with the family. I shall truly miss seeing her. My deepest sympathies are with Jan and his family.

-Paul Clyde


  I had the great privilege of taking PubPol 696 with Professor Terrell in Winter 2009. Every class period she challenged us to think through the economic, social, and political various labor-related policies and to shrewdly critique the papers that we read. It was a small class and we weren't allowed to be passive students. It was quite a demanding yet incredibly fulfilling course. As a result of the dynamic engagement during class, I learned a great deal from both her and my peers.

Professor Terrell's contributions to the Ford School community have been tremendous. She was a truly exceptional professor and I feel honored to have had an opportunity to study with her. I will carry the lessons that I learned from her into my public policy career with me for many years to come.

Warmest Regards,
Kathleen Ludewig


  There are the things we believe and we do not believe. I do not believe that Kathy is not here any longer. We met in January 1997 – she was relatively new at the Business School when I arrived as a completely lost Fulbright Scholar with two suitcases and a daughter in Laura’s age. I got the office on the 7th floor between Jan and Kathy’s offices. Kathy was a sunshine for me: she was helping me with everything even though she was also a relatively new at the BS and AA. I was not the only one: there was a group of Czech and Slovak visitors and students who frequently met at her office or house. She was helping us with everything: lending material things for life that we forgot at home or never bought in the USA starting with a teaspoon and ending with a car, providing a lot of advice how to live at the BS and generally in the US environment, how to manage research, teaching, but also how to do shopping or how to deal with the schools and teachers of our children. She was always so generous, sharing, goodhearted, and hardworking - a clear example and role model for all of us. She and Jan were an ideal couple of two good people and great researchers, and my family feel privileged that we met them. When we heard the news about Kathy, we all cried: my husband, our two daughters and me. We met her many times - during my Fulbright era, during my Visiting Professor post in AA, during my time at the WDI, during my work for the HR network for CEE that Kathy helped to found, during my frequent visits to Ann Arbor. I live many miles away and cannot participate on any official goodbye for Kathy – and that is good – I shall always remember her being here, talking to me, shining for me with her smile, shining for me with her good heart. Our deepest sympathies to Jan, Dan and Laura. Please do not cry, Kathy lives in our memories and hearts.

Ferenciks: Sonia, Stefan, Zita and Sonia jr.


  The news of Kathy passing away is both shocking and devastating to anyone who knows her as a dear person. It is hard to believe she, who always lives life to its fullest, could so suddenly leave us. We have been so used to feeling her energy and passion whenever she is present. Her parting leaves a void in every life she has touched, lives of her doctoral students, her coauthors, her friends, and of course, her loving and beloved family.

I came to know Kathy in 2002 when she admitted me into the doctoral program. I was immediately attached to her warmth. Knowing my difficulty in wrapping up my projects at the World Bank, she gave me the most generous and flexible research-assistance assignment as a doctoral student. In the many years thereafter, she has shown her deepest love, care and sense of responsibility toward me and other doctoral students in the department. She is always ready to fight for every one of us when it comes to funding, research and job opportunities. As a great hostess, she whole-heartedly welcomes us doctoral students and BE faculty many times into her lovely home with Jan and their children, Daniel and Laura. The annual doctoral student workshop she set up continues to be a highlight in the program.

The best advice Kathy gave doctoral students has been, "in choosing research topics, follow your heart." Dear Kathy, I know you’ve always followed your heart in taking care of everybody around you. We all miss you. You will be in my loving memory.

Maggie Zhou
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland


  Elena and I were devastated by Kathy's sudden death; she was so intelligent, incredibly energetic despite her sickness, involved in many important projects, and full of love for her family, colleagues and friends. When she was at Pitt we frequently talked and she always had new and interesting ideas that prompted our intellectual exchange. She was an excellent lecturer, I benefited from her writings, and she kindly reviewed a couple of my books. While at Pitt she played a key role in GSPIA, the Economics Department and the Latin American Studies Program, her departure for UM left a vacuum that still has not been filled. She leaves a wonderful legacy to her family, the profession, students and friends.

Carmelo Mesa-Lago
Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics and Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh


  I met Professor Terrell as a second year student at the Ford School, when it was still called the School of Public Policy and there were only a few courses addressing international issues. Fortunately, I was permitted to enroll in a class she was teaching at the Business School - Doing Business in Latin America, and was thrilled to discover that Prof. Terrell was not only well-informed but also incredibly passionate about the subject matter and truly engaging as a Professor. We shared a common love and interest in Latin America, as did many of the students in this class. The discussions would often become particularly lively whenever an example was used from a country where one of us had lived or worked. I could see that she valued our contributions as much as we valued the knowledge she imparted to us. At the time that I took her class, Kathy and her husband were looking for someone to help out in their home and I was looking for a way to earn some money while at school. So, we formed an agreement and I would head over to her house after my classes to help clean, prepare dinner and tutor Daniel and Laura with their homework (though they rarely, if ever, needed my help) until either Jan and/or Kathy would return home from work. I often tell my friends and family that one of the biggest challenges I faced as a graduate student was learning how to prepare dinner for four people. But I did, sometimes with necessary guidance from Kathy or one of her cookbooks! And, although I was technically a staff member, the whole family always made me feel welcome and at east in their home. I feel fortunate to have had a chance to learn from Kathy and to get to know her family during my final year. My heartfelt condolences go out to Jan, Dan and Laura and all of Kathy's close friends and family.

Dana R.H. Doan, MPP 1999


  The last time I saw Kathy typifies how I will remember her warmth, hospitality, friendliness, and intellect. When I spoke with her briefly at the recent Ross School holiday luncheon she greeted me with a smile, sparkling eyes, and a slight nod of her head. Kathy was hosting a visiting colleague and former student from Latin America and, in just a few moments, she somehow managed to make introductions, inquire about my career, provide some insight and advice, express her best wishes for the holidays, and resolve to see me again soon. Kathy always seemed to be bursting with energy and asking the most insightful questions with a genuine and infectious curiosity. She will be missed at the University of Michigan and far beyond. Jan and her family have my deepest sympathies on their immense loss.

Norm Bishara


  I liked Kathy. I wrote my first summer paper under her guidance, took couple of her courses and stopped by her office if I needed some advice. I could clearly see that she had a genuine interest in supporting intelectual growth of her students. She was always willing to listen and cared about how we feel about our academic progress and life in general. Last time, I met Kathy when she and Jan were walking out from the school a few days before Christmas. When she saw me, she wished me „Krásné Vánoce“, Merry Christmas in Czech and then added personal „Ahoj“. I will always remember her as a great person who radiated a lot of positive energy. I am grateful for the opportunity to know her. I miss her too.

Marek Zapletal, Ph.D. student, 2012


  It is with deep sadness that I mourn Kathy's passing and with thankfulness that I remember the times I was fortunate enough to enjoy a good conversation with her. Kathy was such a genuine person who always treated everyone with warmth and respect. We have lost a thoughtful colleague, a true world citizen, a good friend, and a very kind soul. I extend my sincere sympathies to Jan and their children.

Paula Caproni


  Dentists say that a smile can be improved on by cosmetic procedures. There are exceptions to every rule and Kathy would be one for this rule. The reason, though, is simple: just as the eyes can be windows to the soul, a smile can be a window to the heart. And Kathy had a beautiful heart. She cared for people, was straightforward and genuine and radiated passion and warmth. Her relationship with people was not conditioned on their perceived status and her warmth touched more than most. Her abiding interest in her students’ welfare was nothing special; it was just another expression of her fierce determination to bring out the best in others. She will be missed by many. I, in particular, will miss being cheered up by the momentary encounters here and there, accompanied as they were always by some gentle ribbing from either direction. She was a real academic, a great friend and a wonderful person. My condolences to Jan and her children.

Sugato Bhattacharyya


  We met Kathy this past summer when she and Jan hosted a UM alumni trip to Europe....She was an amazing woman with whom we instantly connected, engaging us with her charm, wit, and sincerity in guaranteeing a pleasant travel experience for everyone...We personally spent time with her, hiking the Swiss Alps, where she opened our eyes to all the wonders of nature....She was awed by the beauty of the wildflowers as they related to the majesty of the landscape of the Matterhorn...She took our picture several times, aware of the smallest detail to make the photo just right ...When we returned home, we shared a lively lunch with her during the Ann Arbor art fair...Her demeanor was constantly friendly and nuturing...

We will always remember her for her love of her family and for her willingness to help others at all times....We are sorry God cut her time here on earth so short, but are blessed for the opportunity to have known her.

Our love and peace to Jan and her children,
Colleen Burcar and Bryan Becker


  No matter the time of day or the demands on her time, Kathy always stopped to say, "How are you" and to chat for a few minutes when we met at the parking garage or in the corridors of the school. I think she cared about everyone too much to just wave an acknowledgement! Her ready smile will be sorely missed. My heartfelt condolences to Jan, Daniel, and Laura.

Anu Nagarajan


  The news about Kathy was devastating and shocking. We talked briefly about work shortly before this winter break and, as always, she was full of energy and plans. It is an unspeakable loss to me and everybody who knew her. She was a great personality and an outstanding researcher: generous and supporting, smart and rigorous. Like many generations of students in Michigan, I learned a great deal from Kathy and I can’t say enough how much Kathy did for me. I will miss her very, very much. My deepest sympathies are with Jan and the family.

Yuriy Gorodnichenko (Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley)


  I met Kathy in 2007 when she came to the World Bank for her sabbatical. I had read her articles before, and finally I had the great pleasure of meeting her in person. I remember our first meeting very well, we spoke about our work on entrepreneurship and female entrepreneurship in particular and of her desire to continue working on this topic during her stay at the Bank. We made plans to work together. I was excited.
As I now think and re-think of all our many meetings and conversations since that day, I remember almost every single one of them, what we talked about, the meaning of a coefficient, the alternative specifications of a regression, but also food, the US, Italy, politics, the health system, the presidential elections (in the US), the presidential elections (in the Czech Republic), our families, fashion, and all the laughs and jokes and the little things of life. Although I have known her for a relatively short time, I have seen her excited, angry, happy, disappointed, joyful, upset, ecstatic, anxious, curious, deeply involved. She was so genuine, passionate, and enthusiastic; she could not hide what she thought and felt, she could not hide who she was. And she was kind and supportive, her words were always of encouragement and optimism.
I remember when she joined Jan during the presidential elections in the Czech Republic, in February 2008 -- she was at the Bank during that period. She was sending updates by email, and we were joking about her having to meet the press and having to 'appear' and speak as a first lady is supposed to. "They want me to put the make up so and so, change my hair, change my clothes - can you imagine?"
It was a great gift having had the chance to meet you Kathy, and work with you -- a great professional and a beautiful person. I will cherish all I learned from you forever.

Elena Bardasi, The World Bank – PREM Gender and Development Group


  What I'll remember most about Kathy, other than her kindness and humor, was her genuineness: she never acted 'important', was a rapt listener, and lent integrity to whatever she was working on. I was fortunate enough to watch her in action over the last few years in her role in running her department's doctoral program. As much as I admired her for her professionalism, it was her humanity that always struck me most, along with a little light in her eyes indicating an impish insight she was perhaps going to share later on.

The Ross School is renowned for promoting Positive Organizational Psychology. When the news of Kathy's passing came, all I could think was that we'd lost one of our best exemplars. She leaves behind a legacy of having made everything she touched better than it was, and a lot of people who loved her and working with her.

Fred Feinberg


  I will miss Kathy’s gentle spirit and a warm smile. I always enjoyed my interactions with her whether it was on the doctoral studies committee or just a chance encounter in the hallway. Her passing reminds me of the preciousness of life and the need to appreciate each day. I will miss her!

Gretchen Spreitzer


  My heart is broken and I am saddened with tears. Kathy was such a beautiful person and we bonded with her on our Ford School IEDP trip to Ethiopia in 2005. We were all a great group under her guidance along with Jude Hays who co-taught with her. She was my teacher for the class and I instantly felt her warm and nurturing spirit. I remember when we were in Addis Ababa how scared I was when she said she was in need of a piece of equipment she had forgotten to bring with her to clean the tube in her throat and she asked if I could help. We made calls, asked everywhere, and I asked her to show me what the piece looked like and went to the nearest pharmacy. We got very worried and I remember praying to God something would work out. They didn’t have anything like it, but I figure if I bought a couple pieces of things I could put something together that might work – and it did thank God! She was so thankful and I remember feeling so relieved. She was like an aunt to me and I would visit her every now and then in her Ford School office, which was on the same floor as mine. She had embraced the Ethiopian culture and it had embraced her. We would greet each other with the traditional three kisses on the cheek and talk about family, life, Ethiopia, and our research. Her door was always open just like her heart and it’s rare to find someone always smiling, but Kathy was naturally positive and welcoming. My brother, Nebyat, and I feel so blessed to have known her and been students in her class. Beyond her scholarly pursuits, which we all greatly benefited from, she truly was a ray of sunshine to many of us at the University of Michigan and in the International Economic Development Program – a wonderful person with a great heart. God bless you Kathy. We love you and you will be greatly missed.

 Sincerely, Menna Demessie, PhD 2010


  I worked with Kathy for 8 years at the Davidson Institute. When we moved into Wyly Hall her office was directly across from mine. We served on many committees together, sat at many staff meetings and planned and attended conferences in transition and emerging market economies around the world. Kathy was a warm, humane and genuine person. She was fully committed to her work and her family, fiercely loyal to colleagues and friends, and completely straightforward. Her directness was the product both of her emotional temperament, I think, and her belief that respect demands honesty. Her death seems an even greater loss because she was so fully engaged and alive.

Anna Meyendorff


  This sad news came as a shock; like several others I had exchanged e-mails with Kathy only a few days before. Kathy treated everyone in the department with instant warmth and familiarity, and was a key contributor to making our department feel like a family. She was an advocate for the PhD students, and I will miss her passion and enthusiasm both for her own research as well as for seeing students succeed.

Nicholas Powers, Doctoral Candidate in Business Economics


  Kathy discovered, shortly after I started work at the BSchool, that we shared the same birth date. Every year after that we went to lunch together on that day (to a buy 1, get 1 free, of course). Don’t tell anyone, but we also had a glass of wine to celebrate another year. For the first few years she thought I was the same age as she. I discovered this one year when she introduced me to some visitors from Europe as it being highly unusual that you find someone the same age as you with the same birth date. I clued her in when we went to lunch that day. We had fun conversations about life in general, etc. She will be missed.

Janet Nightingale


  I first met Kathy in the summer of 1996 after she arrived to Ann Arbor. She joined the William Davidson Institute as a Faculty Associate when her husband Jan Svejnar came to be our Executive Director. We worked together for eight years. Kathy was very hospitable, intelligent, articulate, and exuded a passion about many things – not the least of which were: labor economics, public policy, and developing economies. She enjoyed traveling the globe and enjoyed bestowing gifts to others. Once she gave me a salt and pepper shaker set she purchased abroad; another time it was a very brightly colored fabric belt from South America. The last time I saw Kathy was at the RSB Holiday party on December 11th; she saw me walk in alone and insisted that I join her and her colleague (a visiting professor who was leaving Michigan that afternoon). We enjoyed “catching-up” briefly over delicious hot chocolate. We exchanged a few brief stories, and told each other about our favorite holiday traditions which we anticipated in the coming days.

I extend my most sincere sympathies to Jan, Daniel and Laura.

Jill Elliott


  Today I am truly saddened :-( And filled with tears. Not only am I mourning the death of my good friend, childhood schoolmate, and fellow African brother Arthur Mwale's death Jan 7 2008. But I just received the email from my Dean of Public Policy. Prof. Katherine Terrell was a great mentor and guidance counselor. She was also the professor that led the trip to Senegal for my Public Polcy IEDP course where I traveled to Senegal last February. I have learned so much from Prof. Terrell, and had also had a chance to meet her wonderful husband and her beautiful home, in Ann Arbor in celebration of the success of our research.
I am truly at a loss of words, and feel that I should share this message with all of is too short. Make sure you tell those that have guided you in your path to success that you Thank them....Time is not guaranteed to any of us. RIP Prof. Terrell and Arthur Mwale. You will be missed.....

-Nuria Abdu Siraj, MPP 2009


  Before I applied for Ford School, I contacted several professors to set up an appointment to meet them and discuss my plan. Katherine was one of them who gave me the most encouragement. She was very warm, kind and friendly. I left with my heart full of hope and courage. I eventually became a student in Ford school, and are very happy with this decision. Katherine played an important role in my decision, and I will miss her forever.

Lin Jones, MPP candidate 2011


  I have worked with Kathy on several committees and always felt her warmth, generosity of spirit and willingness to help. These are all the signs of a valued colleague, and trusted member of the community and a wonderful human being. In those short times I have gotten to know her, I felt so much so quickly, that I feel the loss of her among us in a way that is deep and profound. Kathy will be missed as she will be remembered.
“Say not in grief 'she is no more' but live in thankfulness that she was.” — Hebrew proverb

"I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand." — Isaiah 49:15

Andy Hoffman


  It was barely a year after our first meeting, and she was dear enough already to feel like a mother-figure. It is terribly hard to forget a person like Kathy Terrell; probably because she made time for so many meals- sandwich lunch to find out that you're doing okay, sushi lunch to review your plans for summer research, chit-chat on the side during departmental dinner... She could chat. She knew so much about so many parts of the world and was always eager to discover more through conversation. My condolences to members of her family, because if what she gave of herself to her students was so valuable - one can only imagine the magnitude of their loss.  I remain grateful to her memory.

Michael Olabisi, PhD Student 2014


  I was shocked to hear this incredibly sad news; we had been exchanging emails just a few days before. Kathy was a wonderful colleague and will be very greatly missed. From my first meeting with her on my job market visit, she was always very friendly, supportive and encouraging. Her feisty spirit, whether it was advocating for our PhD program and students or when discussing labor market and women’s issues in developing countries, was a defining characteristic. The zeal she showed for her students was amazing to me, having seen nothing close to this in my own graduate student life. (Typically, one of the last things she was working on was improving the marketing of our job market candidates). I remember many meetings where I would advocate a position different from hers; while she was passionate about her views, she was always willing to listen carefully and accommodate other ideas. I will miss her teasing my accent, and pointing out I pronounced words in the funny Indian way; I will miss her laughing when I teased her back on how she pronounced Indian names. I will remember her sense of humor, her graciousness, her warmth, and her tremendous passion and joy about her family and her work. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jan, Daniel and Laura; & rest in peace, dear Kathy!

Jagadeesh Sivadasan


  The very first email I got from Kathy was back in April, 2006, when she invited me to come to Michigan campus for my PhD recruitment interview; and the very last email I got from her was a few days before her passing away in which she notified me that she had finished writing a recommendation letter supporting my application for a Rackham fellowship. Always making her students’ needs a top priority is how I remember her as a mentor. During my campus interview, she asked me tough questions to help me better formulate my vague research ideas. Then when I handed her my application statement for the Rackham fellowship, she offered insightful comments and constructive criticisms that greatly shaped and improved my thinking process as I completed my proposal. As a researcher, she was always sharp and crisp in her ideas that she presented to the academic audience. Kathy is a thoughtful and caring person. She took me to an Asian restaurant for lunch when I interviewed since she thought I might prefer that to sandwiches and salads. In her last email to me, she wrote: “Merry Christmas (or whatever you will celebrate this week)!” I think of her as a great friend and a motherly figure. We lost a passionate researcher and compassionate individual. She will be greatly missed.

Xiaoyang Li, PhD student, 2011

  I was shocked to hear from Francine that Kathy suddenly passed away last month in the Dominican Republic. I met Kathy at various seminars and in the hallways at the business school when I was a doctoral student at Ross. Kathy was energetic, knowledgeable, and generous. I won't forget her big smile and warm words. I am saddened to hear the loss of such a wonderful person to the Ross community. My thoughts are with Jan and the family.

Desmond Lo (Assistant Professor, Santa Clara University)

  I read about Kathy‘s death in the Czech news. I was surprised and shocked, I first thought that it must be some "mess- up" in the newspapers... I was even more shocked when this extremely sad news was confirmed - I still can not believe it... When I came to AA as a PhD student Kathy cared for me and other students like our mom. She was always full of energy, humour and big heart filled with endless understanding for everything that was going on in my life. At the same time she was very demanding, passionate and hard working. When I applied for the Rackham Fellowship she did not mind spending days helping me to re-write my proposal word by the end I have got the fellowship. I can not thank you enough Kathy for ALL you have done for me!

Renata Kosova (PhD student 2004).

  Kathy was a fine economist and a truly beautiful person. An amazing thing about her was how deeply she cared, on a personal level, about the welfare of people in developing countries, like she felt it was her mission to make those lives better. I believe her research did help a lot that way, especially her work on minimum wages in Latin America. She was very nice with me since I joined Ross. I loved the way she pronounced my name, making fun of my accent. The last time I saw her, we talked about this Italian dish whose name she found very funny the "pasta puttanesca". Ciao Kathy.

Mario Macis



I find it hard to put in writing my appreciation for everything that Kathy did at the school.  I worked with her as a colleague and friend, and most recently coordinated with her on the BBA study abroad course in Costa Rica in May 2009, which she was looking forward to doing again this summer.  After a recent faculty get-together Kathy said to me that we should do this more often:  we don’t take the time we should to stop working around the clock, get together to learn more about each other and share a few laughs.  I think about that and realize what a special person she was and how she touched all of us.  Above all, her passion for the doctoral students and the integrity of the doctoral program stands out.  So many have benefitted from her tireless efforts and caring nature.  We will miss her.  My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Jan and the family.

Valerie Suslow



I learned that Kathy had died in the Dominican Republic from a short email that Jan sent, on Dec. 29th. I could not believe it. How could this be? I had seen her, strong as ever, just two weeks before, at my house. She had been her playful and energetic self. Sure, for years now she had been fighting infections and other complications resulting from her throat amyloidosis. We all knew that this was not a small thing. But she always bounced back, ready to fight another day. And she was always so busy, moving along her long list of research projects, and working with PhD, MBA, MPP and BBA students, and helping with or organizing one thing or another. She was so passionate about all her work, wanting to make a real difference in the lives of the poor around the world through her research and her teaching. What a big hole she leaves in our lives now that she is gone. I am grateful for all the years of collaboration and friendship that we did share. I was hoping for many more, however. My sincerest condolences to those who were always most important in her life, her husband, Jan, and her two wonderful children, Daniel and Laura, in these very difficult times. 

Francine Lafontaine