The University Record, February 25, 1998

Obituary

 

H. Gardner Ackley

H. Gardner Ackley, the Henry Carter Adams Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Political Economy, died Feb. 12 in Ann Arbor. He was 82.

A member of the U-M faculty for 43 years, Ackley was a leader in national economic affairs for several decades, including serving as an adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. An expert on the Italian economy, he also was ambassador to Italy.

He held an A.B. from Western Michigan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the U-M. Following a year of teaching at Ohio State University, he joined the U-M faculty in 1940 as an instructor in the Department of Economics. He was on leave from the department in 1941­46, serving in the Office of Price Administration and the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, D.C.

He returned to the U-M in 1946 as assistant professor, was named associate professor in 1947 and professor in 1952. He served as chair of the department in 1954­61. He retired in 1984.

He was a visiting professor at the School of Business Administration, University of California, Los Angeles, in 1949, and served as an economic adviser and assistant director in the Office of Price Stabilization in 1951­52.

He was a Fulbright research scholar in Rome, Italy, in 1956­57, where he studied problems of Italian unemployment and inflation. He returned to Rome in 1961­62 as a Faculty Research Fellow of the Ford Foundation.

He took a leave of absence from the U-M in the early 1960s and served as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and chaired that group for four years. He was ambassador to Italy in 1968­69 and in the 1970s served as a consultant to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Council of Economic Advisers and the Secretary of the Treasury. He also was a member of the National Advisory Council on Social Security in 1978­80.

Ackley was widely published in both professional and popular media. His Macroeconomic Theory, translated into several languages, has been a standard advanced text since it was published in 1961. He also was the author of Stemming World Inflation (1971) and Macroeconomics: Theory and Policy (1978) and joint author of Asia's New Giant: How the Japanese Economy Works (1976).

He was awarded the Cavaliere del Gran Croce by the government of Italy in 1969 for his monograph and articles on the Italian economy, written in Italian. The award is that country's highest civilian honor.

Other awards include honorary degrees from Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Western, being named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, receiving the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the U-M and being named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. He also was a Distinguished Senior Lecturer in LS&A in 1983.

His professional memberships included the American Economics Association, which he served in a number of capacities over the years including president in 1982, the Michigan Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Economics Club.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Bonnie Lowry Ackley; son David and daughter-in-law Gayle of Bologna, Italy; son Donald and daughter-in-law Melissa of Williamsburg, Va.; sister Margaret and brother-in-law Ernest Bonjour of Kalamazoo; sister-in-law Margaret Ackley of Kalamazoo; and five grandchildren: Kenna, Elizabeth, David, Robert and Stephen.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association of South Central Michigan, Box 1713, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. A memorial service will be held at a later date.