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Purdue's Economics Department



The Department of Economics and Krannert School of Management are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague, Mike Watts.

Mike received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1978 from Louisiana State University and joined the Krannert faculty in 1981. He remained on the Purdue faculty for 33 years.    

Mike’s academic accomplishments were many:  he  authored 77 scholarly articles in academic journals,  served as the Editor of the Journal of Economic Education, won numerous awards for his teaching, and was invited to share results of his research at universities and institutions around the world.

Mike was particularly passionate about the teaching of Economics. This passion led him to accept the role of Director of the Purdue Center for Economic Education (PCEE), a position he held since 1984. The Center’s charge is to help teachers incorporate economic thinking into elementary, middle and secondary school classrooms, as well as to promote economic literacy across our state.  Under Mike’s leadership, PCEE was recently named recipient of the 2014 Peter V. Harrington Award – a distinction reserved for the top Indiana Center for Economic Education.

Mike saw economics in everything, a quality best revealed in some of his recent work focusing on economics and art. In this work he compiled hundreds of slides illustrating economic ideas in different paintings, and made this collection freely available for teachers to use in their classroom instruction. Ultimately Mike’s goal was to produce a coffee table book of this material. We are heartbroken that he wasn’t able to see this through to completion.

The faculty of the Economics Department will sorely miss Mike’s scholarly contributions, service, collegiality and sense of humor. In his honor, and to recognize his extensive contributions to Purdue, the Department will award the Michael W. Watts Scholarship for Excellence in Economics, a scholarship given to an outstanding junior Economics major. 

Journal of Economic Education