October 1, 2001

Contact: Sarah Ray
Posted: October 1, 2001

MIDDLEBURY, VT - Middlebury College has established the David K. Smith '42 Chair in Applied Economics, and named Professor of Economics Michael P. Claudon to the newly created chair. Claudon's five-year appointment began on July 1, 2001.

The chair was established in honor of Professor Emeritus of Economics David K. Smith, Known as "D.K.," Smith was a member of the Middlebury College economics department from 1950-1987 and is a resident of Middlebury and Pittsford. An undergraduate economics major and a member of the Middlebury College class of 1942, he received four graduate degrees from Harvard, including a master's in economics, a master's in business administration, and a doctorate in economics. During a hiatus from his graduate studies, Smith taught at Lake Forest College. He also taught at Tufts University while earning his doctorate. He then joined the department of economics at Middlebury, where he served as department chair for 15 years.

During the early 1970s, Smith created a course in environmental economics and, for many years, was advisor to all environmental studies majors whose focus within that discipline was economics. Smith also served for 23 years as a consultant to Central Vermont Public Service Corporation, and as a member of the Vermont State Council of Economic Advisors for four Vermont governors: Philip Hoff, Deane Davis, Thomas Salmon and Madeleine Kunin. He has served on numerous state commissions, advising the governor and legislature on energy and tax issues. Smith is the author of textbooks on money, banking and accounting.

"David found the Middlebury curriculum in economics focused almost entirely on theory. He believed that theory should be combined with practice, so that the work of the mind should be combined with the instincts of the heart. In its place he shaped the contours of our present curriculum in economics, which combines a unique approach to the study of industrial competition, the corporation and corporate finance with rigorous economic analysis," said Middlebury College President John M. McCardell, Jr.

Reuben Mark, a member of the Middlebury class of 1960 and chairman and chief executive officer of Colgate-Palmolive, and Julie Johnson Kidd, a member of the Middlebury class of 1967 and president of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, established the chair in honor of Smith's

work as a teacher and mentor. Reuben Mark was a student of Smith's while at Middlebury. Kidd was a member of a book club organized by Smith and his wife Carol, a member of Middlebury class of 1943.

"Words cannot describe how much this chair means to me … There are 43 other endowed chairs listed in the Middlebury catalogue. Only one of these chairs is in the name of a man who was both an alumnus of the College and a full professor on its faculty. The 44th chair is the only one named for one who is an alumnus, served on the faculty, and was alive at the time the chair was created. That to me is especially unique," said Smith.

Claudon is an economist, international consultant and entrepreneur. In 1970, he was hired as a member of the Middlebury College economics faculty while Smith was serving as department chair. In 1987 Claudon co-founded the Geonomics Institute. During his presidency of the institute from 1987-1995, it was an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of business people, policy makers and researchers who worked to accelerate economic and political transition in the former Soviet Union and to develop business there. Since then, the institute has become a part of Middlebury College and has been renamed the Center for International Affairs.

Claudon has served as a consultant in several capacities for both the Russian and Lithuanian governments. From 1991-1995, he was an advisor to the Resource Secretariat of Russia's Federal Commission on Securities. Claudon has also worked as an unpaid advisor to the Lithuanian Ministry of Agriculture on matters of domestic and foreign trade policy formation.

He is currently developing an alliance with Vilnius University of Lithuania, where he teaches, and also consults on issues related to teaching and economics curricula. Claudon has authored or edited almost two dozen books and more than a dozen articles. He earned his bachelor's degree in economics and zoology at the University of California in Berkeley and his doctorate in economics at Johns Hopkins University.