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My Story at WSU - Robert Berney '54, '60

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Robert Berney, class of '54, '60

I first arrived at WSC in September of 1950, in a blue jeep, from Walla Walla, breaking a long family tradition of attending Whitman College. (My father and older brother and sister all attended.) I lived at Pine Manor for the four years I was there and majored in Business Administration, but economics were the only courses that really turned me on. I was also in the ROTC program, finishing as a Distinguished Military Graduate. And I was Vice President of the Senior Class my final undergraduate year.

I was active in the Outing Club, learning to ski and mountain climb while polishing my other outdoor skills, acting as president of the club in my junior year. That year we took up white water rafting, with a group of us running Hell’s Canyon of the Snake before it was damned up.

In August of 1954 I went into the service, with a regular Army commission, getting trained at Ft. Benning with the latest class from West Point, and then getting both Ranger and Airborne training. I spent 18 months with the 82nd Airborne Division and then was shipped to Italy for 18 months. I resigned my commission after four years to return to WSC in September of 1958 to work on a MA degree in Economics under the Korean GI Bill. (I was now married with two kids.) After graduating from WSC in June of 1960, I received a Ford Foundation Grant to work on a PhD in Economics at the University of Wisconsin, where I graduated in 1963. I spent a year with the Royal Commission of Taxation, in Ottawa Canada and then two years at Arizona State University before being hired in 1966 to join the Economics Department at WSU, teaching public finance, money and banking and macroeconomics at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I retired at the end of 2000 after making full professor, spending 7 years as the Director of Graduate Programs in Economics, 7 years as Chairman of the Economics Department, a year as Chair of the Faculty Senate, a year visiting at Indiana University, a year with the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, an agency of the Federal Government in D.C., and six years on loan to the Federal Government as Chief Economist for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

So collectively I have been very lucky, spending over thirty years in Pullman, raising a family of four there and getting to know the community and the campus more than most WSU grads.

Currently I am retired, doing a lot of traveling, bicycling ,skiing and kayaking while living on the east coast at 1106 Oyster Cove Drive, Grasonville MD 21638 and can be reached at 410-627-0244 or at rberney@msn.com.

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