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Paul McCracken
  Paul McCracken

Economist Paul McCracken Celebrates 90th Birthday

12/21/2005 --

Presidents, scholars, journalists and long-time friends honor professor emeritus.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The list of friends who sent good wishes to economist Paul W. McCracken on his 90th birthday reads like a Who's Who of American political, economic and academic leaders.

Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H. W. Bush, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, Economist Milton Friedman, Cornell University President Emeritus Frank Rhodes, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger and Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot were among the many friends who sent congratulatory notes to McCracken, the Edmund Ezra Day Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and former chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.

"You and your family should be extremely proud of your many accomplishments and outstanding contributions to our great nation and the University of Michigan, which have been the beneficiaries of your unselfish, dedicated and patriotic service," President Ford wrote. "Writing you brings back many fond memories of our fine association. I am most grateful for your many kindnesses and I treasure your friendship. Betty joins me in sending our very best wishes for many more years of good health, happiness and success."

President Bush wrote: "I often think back to the days when you and I were both laboring away in Washington, D.C. I continue to have only the greatest admiration and respect for you. Some good things do happen to politicians in Washington, and one of the good things that I treasure was getting to know you and, to some degree, watch you in action."

The letters were presented at a Nov. 26 dinner party at the University of Michiganís Ross School to celebrate McCracken's Dec. 29 birthday. "Rather than retelling his major economic accomplishments, we had a light-hearted micro-roast," said Herbert W. Hildebrandt, professor emeritus of business administration and a host.

Among those who attended were President Emeritus Robben W. Fleming, Dean Robert J. Dolan, retired faculty members, former Regents and administrators, family and friends. Dale Sasseen, a lifelong friend and former classmate at Blackhawk Township School #1 in Iowa, was a guest of honor. McCracken and Sasseen attended grades one through eight in the one-room school, which at times had as few as nine and as many as 19 students.

McCracken went to high school in Richmond, Iowa, where the enrollment was so small the football coach asked McCracken to play right tackle. "Paul played for about 10 minutes before twisting his knee, and his budding sports career came to an end," Hildebrandt said.

McCracken, known for his dry humor, also shared stories, including one of a man who was visiting his hometown and ran into an elderly fellow sitting on a park bench. When the visitor asked how the man was doing, the gentleman replied, "Pretty good. They say Iíve lost my mind, but I havenít missed it."

Dolan gave his own tribute, sharing a story about a famous University of Chicago professor who recently published an autobiography. In it the professor spoke of his desire that one day his university would be known as the place where he taught. "In the minds of many," Dolan said, "the Ross School of Business is distinctive because "thatís where Paul McCracken taught."

For more information, contact:
Mary Jo Frank
Phone: (734) 647-4626