California is the eighth-largest economy in the world and leads the country’s innovation in technology, agriculture and other fields critical to the future of the Central Valley. As the newest campus in the world-renowned University of California system, UC Merced is poised to be on the cutting edge of economic research.
That’s the reason County Bank established an endowed chair for economics at UC Merced in 2001 – before the campus even opened – according to Tom Hawker, the bank’s retiring CEO and a founding member of the university’s board of trustees.
“County Bank has been a proud and vocal supporter of UC Merced from the very beginning,” Hawker said. “We are pleased to provide funding to further economic research that will impact the community, nation and world.”
This summer, UC Merced announced it had found a professor worthy of the endowment – right in its own back yard. Economics professor Shawn Kantor, a founding faculty member at the university, was appointed to the position in July.
“As a founding faculty member and respected economist, Shawn Kantor is a well-deserving recipient of the first County Bank Chair in Economics,” Hawker said.
Endowments provide valuable resources and cover costs associated with research without taxing a university’s general budget. According to Kantor, the endowment will allow him to augment the economics program’s current research efforts, and to bring in scholars to discuss their research.
“Bringing prominent scholars to Merced and showing them our progress helps us to recruit them later as faculty and encourages them to send their best students here for graduate training,” Kantor said.
“Professor Kantor is a distinguished scholar,” said Keith Alley, executive vice chancellor and provost. “Through his scholarship and leadership on campus, we are assured that the prestige of UC Merced will continue to be elevated through our mission of research, teaching and service.”
Kantor, a graduate of the University of Rochester and California Institute of Technology, is the author of numerous articles and books, and has been the recipient of several international awards for his research. His current research projects include an examination of the economic consequences of the New Deal and a study of the relationship between public support for higher education and regional economic development.
“We are delighted to contribute to research that will benefit Merced and the greater Central Valley,” Hawker said. “We are confident that Professor Kantor and UC Merced will increase awareness of the Valley’s economic contribution to our national economy.”