Long-serving economics professor dies

Former economics professor Robert Dunn died last Thursday evening of an apparent heart attack, chair of the department Robert Phillips said Tuesday.

Dunn taught at GW for 41 years, teaching both microeconomics and macroeconomics, as well as international trade and finance at the undergraduate and graduate level. He retired in 2009 and was one of the University’s most well-known instructors .

Dunn taught more students than anyone else in the department because he taught large lectures, Phillips said.

“A lot of people will miss him. We will certainly miss him,” Phillips said. “He left us too soon.”

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said Dunn was an expert in the field of economics, authoring articles in renowned journals and newspapers like The Washington Post and The New York Times.

“Dr. Dunn authored and co-authored numerous publications, including the textbook ‘International Economics,’ which is now in its sixth edition from Routledge Publishing; articles in the ‘Journal of Political Economy,’ ‘Princeton Essays in International Finance’ and ‘Foreign Affairs,’ among others; and wrote 39 columns for the Washington Post and nine op-ed columns for the New York Times,” Sherrard said.

Students and colleagues recalled Dunn as a professor who brought the real world into the classroom with a good attitude.

“He was engaged with students. At the end of every class there would be at least 10 or 15 students that would go up to him and either have questions or kids who just wanted to ask his opinion on economics today,” said sophomore Harris Abrams, who had Dunn for Introduction to Macroeconomics last spring.

Senior Alexandra Levin said in an e-mail that Dunn was a tough professor, but by challenging students he could truly engage them. She said she took Introduction to Macroeconomics with Dunn her freshman year.

“His passion for economics was undeniable by the witty anecdotes he told before each lesson,” she said. “Despite his demanding teaching style, Professor Dunn was obviously a softy on the inside, and all of his students knew it.”

Dunn’s storytelling went beyond the classroom and into his relationship with his colleagues, Phillips said.

“He had a wonderful sense of humor, and enjoyed telling a good story,” Phillips said.

A memorial service will be held this Saturday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

Emily Cahn contributed to this report.

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