The impact two UCF professors made on a young economics graduate four decades ago will benefit current and future students at UCF’s College of Business.
Glenn Hubbard ’79, chairman of the board of MetLife Inc., and his wife, Constance Pond, gave $1 million to UCF to establish the Kenneth White and James Xander Professorship in Economics. The professorship is in honor of the two faculty members that Hubbard credits for inspiring a career that led him to be one of the most influential economists in the U.S.
Hubbard graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in economics from UCF. He also earned a master’s and doctoral degree from Harvard, served as chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and is dean emeritus and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School.
On the Friday before UCF’s Homecoming weekend, Hubbard and Pond were recognized at the formal investiture of John Solow to the Kenneth White and James Xander Professorship in Economics at the college.
“Today is about love for the experience here [at UCF],” Hubbard told the audience. “You know, a great teacher isn’t just somebody who conveys information. Well, it’s not even somebody who’s also a great mentor. Although the two gentleman whose names sit on this chair are both of those; it’s somebody who opens the door to the world for you.”
The occasion, led by Provost Elizabeth A. Dooley and College of Business Dean Paul Jarley, marked the first endowed chair investiture ceremony at the college. An investiture is regarded as one of the highest honors to be bestowed in academia and is meant to confer and celebrate the appointment of a distinguished faculty member to an endowed chair or professorship.
“Professorships, such as the one here today, allow us to attract and retain our most outstanding scholars,” Dooley says of the honor. “They also reward faculty members who go above and beyond in their dedication to teaching and learning.”
Solow, who joined UCF earlier this year from the University of Iowa, is a renowned economist who is published in numerous economic journals and specializes in antitrust, industrial organization, law and sport economics. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics at Yale University and earned his master’s and doctorate at Stanford University.
“Being a university professor is one of the best jobs in the world, up there with Ben and Jerry’s taste tester and referee at the annual Animal Planet Puppy Bowl,” Solow says after receiving a medallion from Dooley. “…With those benefits comes an obligation, I believe, to invest ourselves in our institution, to do more than just ‘do our jobs’ and go beyond to make our colleges and universities better places through service. That service can be done in many ways … Sometimes, as in the case of Dr. Hubbard and Ms. Pond, you are in a position to heed the call to serve by doing something truly transformative, and for that we are truly grateful.”
The two namesakes of the endowed professorship, White and Xander, were also recognized during the ceremony with commemorative keys for opening the door to the economic world for Hubbard and for inspiring him to establish the professorship. Looking back on his own successful career as an economist and academic, Hubbard credits White and Xander for their tutelage during his time at UCF.
“When you talk to our alumni, they may not remember every professor they’ve ever had, but they do remember the one or two who had the biggest impact in their time in school,” Jarley says. “If you ask Glenn Hubbard that question, he would say Drs. Ken White and James Xander.”