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Professor’s Donation Honors Late Friend

The UCSB economics department recently received a $1 million donation from Professor Emeritus Walter Mead and his wife Thelma to establish a new endowed chair.

The contribution — named in honor of Mead’s late friend and former colleague Alec P. Alexander — marks the second such position the Meads created after the Walter J. Mead Chair, established in 2008. Endowment chairs are privately funded academic distinctions that serve to financially support faculty retention and recruitment.

Alexander joined the department in 1960 and served in various positions throughout his tenure at the university, including department chair, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Acting Chancellor. Mead, during his 32 years as professor, played an instrumental role in introducing the managerial specialization to the economics major.

Mead lives with his wife in Santa Barbara. In addition to the endowments, the couple also funded various annual graduate fellowships.

“We named the chair for Alec Alexander to honor his major contributions as a chair of the economics department in a very different time, as well as for his services to the university as dean of the College of Letters & Science and as vice chancellor at UCSB,” Mead said in a press release. “In addition, Thelma and I enjoyed traveling the world with Alec and his wife, Eleanore. Alec was a very best friend for many years.”

— Staff Report

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