Rodney J. Morrison


A photo portrait of Rodney Morrison, professor of economics

Rodney J. Morrison, emeritus professor of economics at Wellesley College, passed away on Dec. 16, 2021, in Chicago at the age of 87. Rod grew up in Wakefield, Mass. At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served a tour of duty during the Korean War. He received his B.S. degree with honors from Boston College in 1959 and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1965. Shortly thereafter, he became a member of the economics department at Wellesley, where he taught until 2001.

Rod taught a wide variety of courses at Wellesley, and many of his students went on to have successful careers in business, academia, and public service. Rod also served as chair of the economics department and was a formidable and effective member of the Academic Council and of many important College committees.

Throughout his career, Rod was a productive and internationally recognized scholar. He was a NATO Fellow in economics and published many articles in respected journals and several influential books, including Portugal: Revolutionary Change in an Open Economy (1981), a work that synthesized economics, international relations, and history.

Indeed, Rod was a latter-day renaissance intellectual. He read widely and knew art history and classical music. Rod also had a passion for travel that he combined with his cultural interests. In 2006, for instance, Rod flew to Vienna and joined colleagues at the Vienna Philharmonic’s celebratory concert in honor of Mozart’s 250th birthday.

The chink in Rod’s armor was his lifelong devotion to the Chicago Cubs. When the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, after more than a century of ineptitude, Rod opined that the baseball gods must have been asleep. Rod’s humor enlivened every conversation with him.

Rod endured the losses that life allots, including the death of his beloved wife, Sheila, and later, his friend Anna Katz, with exemplary courage and dignity. He was a steadfast, generous, and loyal friend. Above all, Rod was a man of adamantine integrity. A fine professor, Rod was a finer human being.

Professor Morrison is survived by his son, Timothy; daughter-in-law, Katherine Ross; and grandson, Tucker.

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