Remembering Bob Prasch

April 27, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Hillary Aidun ’12

From Hillary Aidun ’12

I met Bob my first semester of college, and we soon became friends. I can attest that he really did have an office since I remember receiving lectures about international finance there. But of course most of the time we spent together took place at his usual haunt: the library cafe. It never mattered to him that I wasn’t actually his student – and in fact, I learned more from him during those informal conversations than I did in some of my classes. (I did eventually take a course with him, my last semester of college, and I think about the material he taught us almost on a daily basis.)

The combination of Bob’s brilliance, vast knowledge, outrageous wit, and patience enabled him to make the most complicated concepts extremely accessible. But more importantly, Bob always made clear the political and social stakes of the ideas we discussed. Bob taught theory, but he taught it in a way that made it impossible for you to avoid thinking about the on-the-ground consequences of economic policies, the impacts on people and communities.

In our last email exchange we agreed to grab pizza the next time Bob came through New Haven. I’m sorry we never got to, and that I didn’t spend more time with him when I could. Bob embodied what makes Middlebury great – that professors and students aren’t afraid to love each other. His passing is a tremendous loss for both his field and our community.

April 7, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Stephen Paolillo ’15

From Stephen Paolillo ’15

Professor Prasch was my favorite professor at Middlebury College. I first took Macroeconomic Theory with him my junior spring, and I fell in love with the way he taught, the way he seemed to truly care about his students, the irreverent and joyful way he taught economics and the love he seemed to have for life itself. The way he taught economics made me fall back in love with my major, after I was starting to struggle with my choice of major. I remembered why I am an economics major, and why I love being one.

I’m a big baseball fan, so it was always a joy to walk down to Wilson Cafe, sit down with Professor Prasch, intending to ask a question of him on how the Federal Reserve increases the money supply, only to spend an hour arguing over whether the A’s should’ve traded for Jon Lester. His presence in any room could not fail to be noticed by anyone – as his friendliness, his vibrancy and his passion for life marked him out in a crowd. His constant jokes about the dishonesty of Wall Street and the haplessness of big corporations were as welcome as his fierce and uncompromising sense of morality. As I grew to know Professor Prasch, and he was gracious enough to write me a number of recommendation letters, the more I grew to like him and enjoy his presence in my life. It is sorely missed now.

What else is there? As it always is when a community loses someone, we think of the missed opportunities to know them better – I never went and got a beer with Professor Prasch at Two Brothers, and watched a baseball game, something I was meaning to do. I never met his wife, or talked with him about his time in the Army. I never talked with him about the trades that the A’s made this winter, and to find out what his favorite movies were. I was never able to present my thesis to him, or talk about my topic with him. One of my dreams is to become an economist, and part of that dream was being able to come back to Middlebury someday and talk with Bob about the ideas of the day, and what I was working on. That’s something that I will unfortunately never be able to do.

I obviously didn’t know Professor Prasch as well as others who have been posting here, but I guess I just wanted to say that he will be missed, by everyone who knew him.

March 8, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Will Pyle

From Will Pyle

Even though I’ve been traveling a good deal this year, I had just seen Bob several times in the weeks before his death. As we often tended to do when not discussing “business,” we talked west-coast sports. Seahawks and 49-er football. But much more frequently, A’s and Mariners baseball. Hours upon hours, I talked baseball with Bob. As Becky Gould put it, so aptly, I thought, in her column, Bob was always so “present” when he was with you and chatting. So happy to engage and spend time. So full of life. Bob was a wonderful colleague and a wise and kind mentor. I’ll miss everything about him. From his mirthful grin, to his disquisitions on (what to me seemed) obscure topics from economic history, to his often over-the-top characterizations of administrators and their motives.  On and on.  I’ll think of him every time I walk into the Library cafe where he so often held court, surrounded by students who loved and appreciated so much of what he had to offer. He was a one-of-a-kind. I consider myself blessed to have known him.


Will Pyle


February 25, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Rebecca Gould

From Rebecca Gould

This piece appeared originally in the Addison Independent

Our Common Capacity to Love


Not for the first time, I am moved to begin my column with reference to the words of one of my “Ways of Seeing” sisters. In dispensing her “advice that nobody asked for” a couple of weeks ago, Joanna Colwell offered two sentences that spoke pure truth: “Life is short. Act like you know that to be true.”

Life is short. I’ve learned that lesson before. Then I suddenly lost my friend and Middlebury College colleague, Bob Prasch, and I had to learn it again. How could Bob be here one day and gone the next? Everyone I knew was as stunned as I was. Bob and I had chatted in the college library café just a week or two before he died and that was the last time I saw him.   Now, of course, I so deeply wish that we had chatted longer. Bob was a great chatter.

Bob was one-of-a-kind. Yes, we are all one-of-a-kind in a certain sense, but Bob was somehow more so. He possessed all of the qualities I admire in a person: a keen intellect, a winning sense of humor, a warm and generous heart with an authentic smile to match. Bob had the ability to stop and be fully present with whomever he was conversing with and that quality of full presence is increasingly rare. His way of being present, however, was rather different than that of my more contemplative practice-oriented friends.  Bob could be fully present with you, while simultaneously talking your ear off.

I must confess that sometimes, in conversation with Bob, I had “but I have to go now” running through my head. But mostly, I learned to silence that inner protestation, because listening to Bob was like listening to a brilliant TED talk or a mind-bending lecture from your favorite college professor. And although I, too, am a college professor, when I spent time with Bob, I more often felt like a very lucky student in a one-on-one tutorial. When it mattered, of course, Bob could also really listen. He helped me to think through many a hard decision.

In the days immediately following Bob’s sudden death, I found myself wishing a strange kind of wish. I wished that everyone in Bob’s circle — and all of the college faculty, staff and students who knew and loved him — were all Jews, all Catholics or all Hindus or all something. Then, we would somehow know what to do with our collective shock and our grief. We would sit Shiva, or we would be knit together by the familiar strains of the Funeral Mass, or we would chant together portions of the Vedas and in that chanting we would somehow find our footing. This wasn’t a wish about the actual private ceremony that Bob’s family would choose to create; it wasn’t even a “real” wish. It was an expression of my deep longing for a way that Bob’s vast collection of friends, students and colleagues could draw together as a community.

Well, Thank God (as it were) that we are not “all something,” because that would be boring, stifling or worse. For most of my adult life, I have both studied and celebrated religious pluralism, and I include in that pluralism atheists, agnostics and “spiritual, but not religious” folks of all kinds. Indeed, I can claim for myself any number of these identities on a given day or week, but that’s another column.

Life is short. What to do? Where is the foothold? Is there something we have in common that can collectively ground us in the face of loss — my loss, your loss and, at this vulnerable time, a college’s collective loss? Well, of course, there is something. There is our common capacity for love.

So that’s where I’ve been going in these last few weeks. Going to love. I am seeking community wherever I can find it and oddly enough, that will include a faculty meeting. Or maybe not so odd, for it is through our common love of teaching and learning that so many of us came to love and to cherish Bob Prasch.

I’ve been very intentionally stopping to tell people that I love them — on the phone, in emails, over a coffee. I find it interesting that I often feel the need to preface my words of affection with an apology for sounding mushy or sentimental. Why is that? But mush or no mush, I want people to know that they matter to me, and in what particular ways they do. None of us knows which day will be our last one and in this time of heightened awareness, the words that my friend Helen Nearing once wrote have become a kind of daily refrain: “Love is the source, love is the goal, love is the method of attainment.”

Of course, I know better than to think that I’ll be able to keep up the intensity of this love-fest for long. Our old habits and ways of being tend to return. As the Buddhist writer Jack Kornfield has put it: “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.” But life is short and in the absence of common rituals to ground us, it is worth remembering how we are all bound together by our capacity to love. Right now, I am stumbling through my ordinary days, keeping in mind how extraordinary love can be.   I have many people to thank for that. Right now, I am thanking Bob.


Rebecca Kneale Gould is a shepherd in Monkton, a scholar of religion and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College. She is writing a book entitled Spacious.


February 10, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Sandra Garber (Bob’s sister)

From Sandra Garber (Bob’s sister)

A Remembrance For All of The Students of Robert Prasch…

I was once young and after a breathtaking course of Trying to Keep Up With Pooh I managed (For We Are All Managers After All) to lose one glove.
The subsequent bone chilling chairlift ride began as such:

Take My Glove.  I Have Pockets.

So Do I. 

Indeed You Do.

So If You Take My Glove Then We Can Immediately Begin A Much More Interesting Conversation.

Which we did. 

February 10, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Aaron D. Sawchuk ’02

From Aaron D. Sawchuk ’02

It was with shock and sadness that I learned of Prof. Prasch’s passing.  I first met Bob his second year at Middlebury, taking his History of Economic Thought economics senior seminar.  I don’t know what drew me to that particular class – I probably selected because it met in the afternoons and didn’t involve a ton of complex math.  It continues to be, however, one of my most memorable courses during my four years at Midd.

Bob was a dedicated teacher and immersed himself in the community – he was one of the most approachable professors that I had the pleasure of meeting.  I can distinctly regularly remember running into him outside of Proctor or Monroe and chatting for ten or fifteen minutes about some economic topic or the news of the day.

Bob had a way of making pretty dense historical texts seem as relevant today as when they were written.  His mix of humor and stories made the material take on real meaning that I have returned to many times in the 13 years since.  Despite that sense of humor, he was no slouch when it came to grading – he identified the potential of his students and pushed them to succeed.  But he also provided support and encouragement so that as a student you wanted exceed those expectations.

The Middlebury community has lost a great teacher and scholar and he will be missed.

–Aaron D. Sawchuk ’02


February 10, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Brenda Ellis

From Brenda Ellis

I always enjoyed talking with Bob, especially in the library café.   As others have said, he was such a story-teller.  He made economic history fascinating.  I loved seeing him in conversation with students in the cafe, which was often.  He so clearly enjoyed talking with and teaching students.  I would have liked to have taken a class with him.  This was a tragic loss to our community.

February 9, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Naina Qayyum ‘15

From Naina Qayyum ‘15

The news of Professor Prasch passing away was very shocking and very unexpected. He not only possessed immense knowledge about economics and politics but was also a man of great sense of humor. It was rare to not see Professor Prasch in Wilson Café in Davis Library.  Whenever I met him in the library café, in Warner or any talk, he would always share a funny story during the quick chat that always brought a smile on my face. I am very glad to know Professor Prasch outside of classroom and I will always remember him as a great instructor, an insightful writer, and an inspirational mentor.
May his soul rest in peace.
Naina Qayyum ‘15

February 9, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Alicia Girón, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas

From Alicia Girón, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas

Bob has been a friend along many conferences and we always learn a lot about his appreciations of economy. I can hardly understand that we won’t see him anymore. We always remind him as an excellent economist.  Just few weeks ago Eugenia and I were talking with him at the ASSA Conference in Boston, we were inviting him to come to UNAM at Mexico City. We will miss him.

Alicia Girón
Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas

February 9, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on Jennifer Chute, ‘15.5

Jennifer Chute, ‘15.5

Professor Prasch brought sunshine to our school in cold Vermont. Seeing him in Wilson Café and sitting down to ask a quick Econ question easily turned into an hour or more of chatting and swapping stories. His warm spirit, big smile, and general outlook made it impossible for me not to leave our conversations also smiling, reminded to delight in the small good things in life. I will always remember his many engaging, story-driven lectures, and the joy and surprise I and a couple other students of his felt when he came down to Two Bros to watch the SF Giants win the world series with us (even though it couldn’t be the Oakland A’s!) His love of Economics and his love of life were infectious. I feel so lucky to have been able to learn from Professor Prasch, and I send love to his close friends and family.

February 8, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Eugenia Correa, Professor of Economics, Mexico National University

From Eugenia Correa, Professor of Economics, Mexico National University

I can hardly say I knew Bob very well. We only had short conversations in successive meetings at various conferences over the years. During these occasions, what always struck me the most about him was his constant reference to his wife, Tina, whom he loved dearly and who was so important to him. I remember especially well when we shared a conference dinner in Paris in 2012, in which there were many colleagues present, such as Alain and Alicia, and, at this special occasion, we also met his wife.  We could see how his eyes sparkled when he saw her so alive and happy!

I have had only limited opportunities to know his work as an economist. But, at every conference that we had attended, I would never miss his presentations, comments and debates in which he was involved. The last time we spoke to each other was in Boston this year. We were preparing to have him visit our graduate economics faculty at the National Autonomous University of Mexico so that we can share his immense knowledge, particularly of the banking and financial sector, with our students and we were all so enthusiastic about publishing in Spanish some of his contributions.

With Bob I had the rare opportunity to meet a sweet, charming, and generous person. He was truly an extraordinary man and an outstanding economist, and I’ll always miss him.

Eugenia Correa

Professor of Economics, Mexico National University.

February 8, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Mario Seccareccia, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa

From Mario Seccareccia, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa

It is with terrible sadness that I learned of Bob’s passing. I know of Bob’s work since the mid-1990s, but Bob and I only met for the first time when he came to Ottawa for a conference in September 2002 on central banking and, since then, we have always shown the utmost of respect and professional solidarity. He visited us again in Ottawa in May of 2011 for a conference in monetary economics, and again we saw each other at the CIRANO conference in September of 2011. But we met regularly, especially at the annual ASSA meetings. Indeed, just recently we were together at another successful CIRANO conference in Montreal that he and Thierry Warin organized, and, despite his heavy duties on the recruitment committee of his department, I was able to convince Bob to be a discussant in a session that I was chairing at the AFEE 2015 meetings in Boston at the beginning of January. Moreover we had lunch together just before this AFEE session at the Boston Marriot and, despite our shared cynicism about important aspects of the  economics profession, particularly the mainstream’s incapacity to analyze and explain the real world, Bob was just filled with a guarded optimism about some of the changes going on since the financial crisis. I have only wonderful memories of him that will certainly live on of this intellectually towering figure with a kind heart and infectious smile who brightened our lives. It is so devastating to all of us who knew him; but I wish to assure you that he will live on deep in our hearts.

Mario Seccareccia, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

February 8, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Nathalie and Thierry Warin

From Nathalie and Thierry Warin

We have lost a very dear friend, and a wonderful person. We have so many memories from our first Thanksgiving together in Middlebury, our travels to conferences in New York or Paris and also our last encounter in Montreal this past December. Bob was able to give a quote from Adam Smith and give the page number where to find this quote. He was an incredibly well-read scholar, with a range of knowledge and expertise that we have very rarely seen. He was a mentor and an inspiration. We will miss him so much.
From Nathalie and Thierry Warin

February 8, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Shawn Kilpatrick ’11

From Shawn Kilpatrick ’11

I have never met a professor more capable of lifting up a struggling student as Prof. Prasch. During the winter semester of ’08 I found myself crippled with writers’ block and had not slept in two days while trying to write a final essay for his course. A fifteen minute meeting at the Library Cafe was all he needed to set my world right again. He told me to get the essay in whenever I could, but that was just the first minute of our meeting. During the remaining 14 minutes he told jokes, stories, tidbits of personal advice- anything to remind me after two days of manic consternation that hey, after all, this was just an essay. As our topics of conversation got broader and broader, the weight of my current problems seemed smaller. Without me knowing he saw exactly what I needed at that moment. Everybody who stumbles has needed a Prof. Prasch at some point. He will be missed.

February 8, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Jessica Holmes

From Jessica Holmes

Bob was the master storyteller. Whether in a department meeting, over lunch, on a chairlift or in the hall, I could always count on Bob to share a story that would make me laugh, teach me something new, and open my eyes to a new perspective. I will miss you Bob–thank you for the wisdom, smiles, and countless stories.

February 8, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Naina Qayyum ‘15

From Naina Qayyum ‘15

The news of Professor Prasch passing away was very shocking and very unexpected. He not only possessed immense knowledge about economics and politics but was also a man of great sense of humor. It was rare to not see Professor Prasch in Wilson Café in Davis Library. Whenever I met him in the library café, in Warner or any talk, he would always share a funny story during the quick chat that always brought a smile on my face. I am very glad to know Professor Prasch outside of classroom and I will always remember him as a great instructor, an insightful writer, and an inspirational mentor. May his soul rest in peace.


Naina Qayyum ‘15

February 8, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From James Berg and Matty Woodruff

From James Berg and Matty Woodruff

Bob was an acrobat at conversation.  He could explain anything–seemingly the dullest thing–with such color, such wit, such economy, that he held you in attention long after you were supposed to go.  If you want to hear his voice again, look up an article he wrote for, say, the Huffington Post.  You will hear him in it.

Never was there a time when we saw Bob on the campus that he did not make us feel welcome, and rarely was there a time when he was eating and did not invite us to join him for his meal.  He was among the kindest, and smartest, people at the College.  It was easy to take that combination of qualities for granted, because you could always count on him for it.  But it is rare, and, now that he is gone, we see how precious it is.

Bob loved people.  Bob also loved a cat, as we recall.  Bob said once that he hated cats.  When asked why he got along so well with the cat in his house–why the cat slept on him–he said, “we have something in common; we both hate cats.”

Bob is still with us, and he will live on in all who knew him.  Bob, we will look for you next time we are in the Library Café

–From James Berg and Matty Woodruff

February 6, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Peter Matthews

From Peter Matthews





I’ve told a lot of “Bob stories” over the last week, and could tell a lot more.  We all could.  It was impossible to know him and not share him with others.  I also wanted, however, to bid him a much quieter farewell, and was able to do so here, at the top of the deserted Bailey Falls lift, a place he knew well.  He skied much like he lived:  exuberantly, and with a style all his own.  Farewell, comrade.

February 6, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Alaa Amr ’17

From Alaa Amr ’17

Professor Prasch was a remarkable man; even his 1:30 class on the Tuesday right before Thanksgiving break was attended by at least ten students. unheard of. He didn’t just teach a syllabus, he was a man with a wealth of knowledge and a great sense of humor to go with it. He would always slow down to ask; “so far so good?” He was the economist to always remind us of the difference between labor and broccoli while drawing similarities between (Kenyan) peasants and wall street bankers. He would have loved to teach a class about financial markets’ history but “it’s all about financial institutions dodging laws anyway.” In fact, he was ready to revolutionize our approach to economics by proposing an intro to economics that explained the legal and cooperate system that gave rise to the so called markets.

Professor Prasch, you are badly missed already, and the chances of us forgetting you “is zero to none and I am rounding off here.” Now and forever in our hearts and on our minds. May you rest in peace.

Alaa Amr ’17

February 5, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Fernando Rocha

From Fernando Rocha

Dear Bob,

We miss you already! What a BLAST for Natalie, Vijaya, and I to sit down with you and laugh for a bit at the world. You are a boy in a big man’s body: light, airy, floating above trivialities. I’m glad you’re with us. We’ll have to learn to be with you differently now, but it’s still such a comfort to have you with us.

Big hugs,

February 4, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Otto Nagengast ’17

From Otto Nagengast ’17

In the fall, I was part of the Federal Reserve Challenge team and Professor Prasch was helping us one late night in the library. At one point during the two or so hours he spent answering our questions, we started talking about deflation and its harmful effects on the economy. Professor Prasch told us a story about the time he met Paul Volcker, a Fed Chairman during the 1970s and 1980s, at a conference. Professor Prasch walked up to Mr. Volcker, a celebrity in economics and policy circles, and asked, “Hey, do you remember me? We worked together back in the 1980s.” Mr. Volcker said, “No, I don’t. I’m sorry.” Professor Prasch responded, “Yeah, you wrung inflation out of the economy, and I was unemployed. Together, we tackled the high inflation rate!”

I’ll always remember this story. I think it is an example both of his great mind and of his great humor. In the handful of conversations I had with him, I came to appreciate his candor when it came to economics, which always pushed me to think about things twice. Professor Prasch was a brilliant professor, and he will be missed.


Otto Nagengast ’17

February 4, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Erin Quinn ’86

From Erin Quinn ’86

I would have no shortage of humorous anecdotes to tell of Bob at meetings, or from conversations at Sama’s over coffee.  I have fond memories of discussing baseball, or any number of wide-ranging topics.  Many of us will remember Bob for his sense of humor and warm nature.  However, I will also remember him for his steadfast commitment to students.  In my world of Athletics, he was a faculty affiliate for the alpine ski team, and also served on Athletic Policy Committee.  We never got the sense that he was serving out of a sense of obligation.  In fact, he had rotated off of the committee, and after returning from a sabbatical learned that we had a particularly onerous schedule during the upcoming year.  He wrote to the administration to volunteer to serve on APC in order to ease our burden and to better serve our students and coaches.  He made a standing offer to pitch in whenever necessary.  His contributions to our work, in support of our students, were significant and something he took very seriously, although he never failed to bring levity to his work.  We will miss you, Bob.  Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Bob’s family and friends.  Please know that he was loved and respected.

Erin Quinn ‘86
Director of Athletics
Middlebury College

February 4, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Amy Holbrook

From Amy Holbrook

I worked with Bob for the past 15 years.  He was a teacher, a colleague, a friend, family. Bob was a great guy and will be deeply missed.

I found the following Zen Buddhist Text which reminds me of Bob and how he lived life…












Bob was truly a master in the art of living!!

My deepest condolences go to Tina and Bob’s family.


In sadness,



February 4, 2015
by Michael Roy
Comments Off on From Ellen Oxfeld

From Ellen Oxfeld

I can’t imagine that Bob was not everybody’s favorite colleague!  He was so warm, funny, great story teller, and humorous.  At the same time, he was also the one, in his approachable yet brilliant way, who could most aptly dissect and eviscerate the arguments and orthodoxies that benefitted the powerful.   Because of his combination of entertainment, warmth, brilliance, and also compassion for the underdog, he was my “go to” recommendation whenever a student advisee came into my office looking for a fourth class.  They usually had not yet heard about “Professor Prasch,” so I would say something like, “why don’t you take Professor Prasch’s course on [whatever the topic was] and you will really enjoy it and he will give you a totally different idea about economics!”  They never regretted the recommendation.

I can’t believe I will not run into Bob in the library or some other place again and have a wonderful conversation ranging from the state of the world to Middlebury.  It is a terrible loss that we all feel.  Bob was just a magnificent and marvelous person.

February 2, 2015
by Ronald Liebowitz
Comments Off on Robert E. Prasch III

Robert E. Prasch III

The College community suffered a devastating loss with the news that Robert E. Prasch III, professor of economics at Middlebury College, passed away at his home.  He was 56 years of age.

Bob’s outgoing personality was legendary, and he was greatly admired by his students, his faculty colleagues, and by anyone else who knew his acumen for economics, politics, history, and other subjects.

He is survived by his wife, Falguni A. Sheth, an associate professor of philosophy and political theory at Hampshire College; his parents, Robert & Carolyn Prasch, of Grand Isle, VT; and his sister, Sandra Garber, her husband John, and nieces, Alison and Sophie Garber.

When Peter H. Matthews, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics and department chair, learned the sad news Tuesday morning, he said: “Students loved him, his memorable stories, his incredible command of American economic history, his engaging classroom atmosphere, and his famous office hours at Wilson Café in the library, where he would interact with as many students who wanted to speak with him, for as long as they needed to do so. And in turn he loved them.

At Middlebury, Bob taught courses in American Economic History, History of Economic Thought, Monetary Theory and Policy, and Macroeconomic Theory. He arrived in 2000 as a visiting assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2003, and promoted to full professor in 2009. Before joining the faculty at Middlebury he had previous teaching experience at San Francisco State University, University at Maine at Orono (where he earned tenure), and Vassar College.

In recent years, Bob served on Faculty Council, the ad hoc Committee on Faculty Compensation, the ad hoc Committee on Grade Inflation, and the Independent Scholar Committee, where he stayed in close contact with faculty from other departments and with Middlebury students and staff.

He was a co-organizer of the second and third conferences hosted by the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, and was working with faculty colleagues across the curriculum on a volume about international youth unemployment.

Bob also was the faculty affiliate for the Alpine skiing team for the past 10 years, and he served two terms on the Athletic Policy Committee, including a term as chair. Erin Quinn ’86, director of athletics, said, “Bob volunteered numerous hours on behalf of our student-athletes and coaches. He was selfless, enthusiastic, and committed. He was a valued and trusted colleague, willing to offer advice about any academic issue and was a strong advocate for our students.”

Before attending college, Bob served three years in the U.S. Army on active duty, where he was recognized for being the best shot in his class. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in economics and history; from the University of Denver with a master’s degree in economics; and from University of California at Berkeley with a Ph.D. in economics.

He wrote the book “How Markets Work: Supply, Demand and the ‘Real World’” (Edward Elgar Publishing: 2008). He co-edited a volume about the American economist Thorstein Veblen in 2007, and an earlier volume titled “Race, Liberalism, and Economics” with his wife, Falguni Sheth, and his faculty colleague, Professor David Colander, in 2004.

At the time of his passing Bob was completing two book manuscripts. The working titles are “A Wage of Her Own: The Rise and Fall of Progressive Era Minimum Wage Legislation for Women: 1913-1923” and “The Political Economy of Empire.”

During his career he also published over 80 book chapters, reviews, and articles in scholarly journals such as “Journal of Economic Issues.” He published critiques of contemporary economic policy on Huffington Post and other websites. After the recession of 2008 Bob was sought after to give incisive lectures like “Why the Financial Markets May Not Be Self-Stabilizing.”

The tragic loss of Bob Prasch will leave a gulf in the Economics Department.  Peter Matthews said. “We’ve lost a giant: a giant friend, a giant intellect, a giant colleague, a giant teacher… and all of us will miss him very much every day.”

Details about funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as they become available.

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