Carl Christ, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Economics at Johns Hopkins University, passed away on April 21, 2017.
Obituaries are posted at:
- Department of Economics; Johns Hopkins University
- CFE: In Memory of Carl Christ
- The Baltimore Sun
- The Hub
“Carl was a great teacher and mentor. I was delighted that i managed to catch up with him for lunch on my last visit to the US. He had a most significant impact on me and I am sure on so many others. He was what made Hopkins.”
“I was a student of Carl’s in the 1960s. It was an interesting time. Re econometrics, it was a time when it was becoming a more common tool for economists. Carl had just finished his book and was using it in class. I remember complaining about the high word-to equation ratio relative to competing books (by Johnson and by Goldberger). His story was that his book was especially for grown-up economists who needed to learn econometrics on their own and needed more examples and explanations. So it was a book more than a text book.
Three things I still remember that are still important:
1. He was an early nag about identification- something that faded for a while in the profession, but has come back with a vengeance.
2. He used to preach that an econometric paper must not only tell the truth and nothing but the truth, but also the whole truth-more appropriate than ever now, in a world of easy data mining.
3. I recall him once working on a draft of a survey paper on econometrics, and his secretary (there were secretaries then) misread “econometrics” in the title and typed “economic tricks.” He thought maybe that was a better title.
He was both a great scholar and a true gentleman. It is good that he lived so long.”
Robert Van Order , George Washington University
“He was a kind and generous man and as residual claimant served as my thesis adviser for which I am eternally grateful. He may well have been the third or fourth member of the Department to be so engaged.”
Stuart I Greenbaum, Prof. Emeritus , Olin Business School, Washington U. STL
“Carl was my teacher in the early seventies. I still remember his course vividly. When he started his econometrics course with chapter (7?) on identification stating that the early chapters were background. He also insisted on giving us back his per-book royalty as we all had bought his book.
More recently, Carl invited me to write a piece on Bela Balassa for the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics which I accepted with pleasure. Even though he did most of the work, he insisted that my name appear first…..
Carl was a great mentor and the life at Hopkins.
When we organized a service for Bela at the Bank, Carl spoke of Bela with great emotion, breaking up in tears when he told us that Bela took the train back to DC to help his daughter with her homework only to come back to Homewood the next morning.”
Jaime de Melo
“Here is another anecdote: when I took Carl’s class in 1992 his book was out of print and Greene (2nd edition!) was the official textbook. However, he lent us copies of his book. He had photocopies for the male students and the original textbook for our female classmates (the rationale was that the hard-copy was lighter to carry than the photocopies).
Like Jim and Bob, I also remember his emphasis on identification and on the economic interpretation of the results. He was a great scholar, teacher, and a true Gentleman.”
“Dr. Christ was my econometrics teacher and Dissertation Advisor in the mid /late 70s. He was amazing. Pieces I remember fondly are
· His penchant for using every inch and corner of the board before erasing anything… (and side-bets among students about when he’d actually have to bring out the eraser)
· Carl and Phyllis attending the periodic grad-Department-wide crab outings to Bo Brooks that I organized — with very messy Bay Seasoning-coated hands around red beer cups
· His being a real person
· His dedication to swimming / exercise
· His desire to have people really understand what he was talking about — and instilling in me a real wish to be useful — something that has been a focus ever since.
· He was my favorite teacher, and a real role model. It was wonderful to know him, and he’ll be missed.
And I use that story about “economic tricks” all the time before speeches I give (:-)).”
Lisa A. Skumatz, Ph.D Principal , Skumatz Economic Research Associates (SERA)
“Many thanks for sending out this very sad notice of the passing of Professor Christ. I had not heard of his passing even though I live in the DC area. He was my econometrics professor at JHU and, although I showed no talent in econometrics, I enjoyed his class very much. He was so enthusiastic in class, and out of class as well. It was really special to see him at the retirement party for Lou Maccini a few years ago.
Professor Christ was a true scholar, and the personification of a great teacher. A truly classy person who, along with several other Hopkins professors, should have received Nobel prizes. I know he will be missed at Hopkins and by many of his former students like me.
Please convey my sincere regrets to his wife.”
“I join all of you in expressing my deep gratitude to Carl and in celebrating his life and work. Carl was my professor and thesis advisor (with Bela). I owe them both greatly.
Let me share an anecdote and a comment.
Anecdote. In the late 1960s early 1970s I was an undergrad student of Econ at the Univ of Buenos Aires in Argentina. There was a bookstore in downtown BsAs specialized in imported books on economics, politics, and similar topics… I liked to go there and just look at the books (as a student, my income was limited). One day I was drawn to a green book on econometrics; I felt I had to buy it even though a) it was expensive; b) my econometrics was poor; and c) my English was even poorer to non-existent. Furthermore, I had not heard of the author and I was not planning on leaving my country to study abroad. Still, I bought the book and I carried it with me to the different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where I lived and worked when I left my country in 1976.
Fast forward several years, and the mystery of why I bought the book was finally revealed: I went to study at JHU, first at SAIS, and then at the Dep of Economics, where, you guessed it, I was the only one in my class with a personal copy of Carl’s famous book. Carl had a good laugh when I told him the story about my (his) book.
Comment. Other colleagues mentioned Carl’s work on identification. I’d like to highlight a related issue: his paper on Pitfalls in Macroeconomic Model Building along with the paper on government budget constraints were two of the most useful applied macroeconomics papers I have ever read. Once I heard someone say that “macroeconomics is national accounting identities plus opinions.” Everybody is entitled to her/his own opinions (on expectations, behavioral issues, market clearing mechanisms, and so on) but Carl made clear that you are not entitled to your own accounting identities, nor can you ignore them. Many policy disasters in developing countries (and some developed ones) happen because policy makers ignore basic double-accounting identities Carl so rightly emphasized (along with the proper matching of independent equations and the number of endogenous variables in a well-specified macro model).
It was a privilege knowing Carl. My thoughts and prayers go out to him, his family, and friends.”
“Carl Christ’s greatest legacy was far more than celebrated author of “Econometric Models and Methods” – a 10 year undertaking. And far more than several dozen first rate Journal articles. Even more than a first rate teacher willing to tackle undergrad economics courses. It was his very demanding role as a Thesis Advisor par excellence that I consider his greatest Legacy. Demanding his students work to highest standards of scholarship. No matter how long it took. Always willing to read draft after draft with carefully made comments. Carl Christ was a demanding task master. But he was a superb Thesis Advisor and readily accessible. Under his indefatigable energies those of us privileged to be his Thesis students learned the standards of scholarship. It was the greatest of privileges to be his student. His reputation as a sterling Thesis Advisor went well beyond the Hopkins community.”
Peter I Berman , (1963-67)
“I had the honor and privilege to have been Professor Christ’s grad student and TA for the Macroeconomics and Senior Honors Essay. Aside from his outstanding scholarship, I was lucky enough to observe a fantastic and dedicated teacher at work and a wonderful person and humanitarian to boot. Many of us tried and in vain to emulate this role model. When we heard the sad news, some of us were reminiscing about our experiences with Professor Christ.
Not sure how many know this, but beyond the academics, Professor Christ was also an athlete. I recall a sweet and funny anecdote when Kali Rath, Rafael Tenorio and I were teaching at University of Notre Dame in Indiana in the 90’s, and Gabriella Bucci at Depaul University. We received a call from Carl and Phyllis inviting us with our spouses to his summer house at the lake in New Buffalo, Michigan. We arrived at their home and proceeded to walk to the lake, where he wanted to teach us wind surfing. While walking to lake, we were all chatting with Carl and Phyllis when Kali noticed that Carl was casually holding two buckets containing equipment and other stuff for the sailboat etc.. so he insisted that he should help carry at least one. Carl asked “are you sure?” Kali assured him, and so Carl let go of one of the buckets and kept walking to the lake with the rest of us in tow. Suddenly, I realized that Kali was lingering way behind. I went back to ask him the matter and Kali said “Why don’t you try to lift the bucket” I tried and barely managed lift it before dropping it!! It took two of us to lift it and carry it to the lake panting and all, while marveling at how Carl managed to carry two of them and still lead the troops all the way to the lake while carrying on casual conversation with all of us. We had a wonderful day there.
As many others alumni already mentioned, he epitomized what Hopkins is.
He is and will be sorely missed. Deepest sympathies to Phyllis and family and the larger Hopkins one.”
Ralph Chami , Assistant Director Institute for Capacity Development International Monetary Fund
“Dear friends and colleagues,
Carl Christ was a major reason I came to Hopkins. My undergraduate adviser knew his work and my budding interest in econometrics, and recommended that I apply to Hopkins. Little did I know that behind the book-writer was such a remarkable teacher, scholar, and person.
As a teacher, he was instrumental in helping me really understand identification, a concept I had only loosely grasped as an undergrad. His course built a foundation in econometrics that has served a whole generation of Hopkins students well to this day. More broadly than that, his approach to every question or idea in seminars or conversations was couched in terms that students could appreciate.
The depth of his involvement in his field of research was clear. Among other things, he would talk about the inner workings of the various macroeconometric models of the day. With his characteristic smile and a twinkle in his eye, he would relate that the publicized estimates from those models could sometimes be the technical estimate from the model –with a little final “from the gut” adjustment by the lead economist. Not trying to indict anyone, he was rather intending to both give us some insight to the complicated interaction of modeling limitations, the intuition of experienced economists, and policy influence, as well as get us thinking about what really constituted good research practices.
On the personal side, one of my early memories of the graciousness of Carl and Phyllis was the party they held for first-years in the fall of 1976, on election night for Ford vs Carter. Besides it being a wonderful social mixer, they held a little contest for who could pick the winner and his percentage of the popular vote. As I recall, the winner was the wife of one of our non-US classmates – politics has always been a universal language …
It was terrific to see Carl and Phyllis at Lou’s retirement event. While we hadn’t seen each other in a very long time, his memory was keen as always. He quickly recalled not only my first post-Hopkins job but also some of our DOPE softball days! Those are fond final memories.
My heartfelt condolences go to Phyllis and all of their family and friends.
Richard J. Willke, Ph.D. , Chief Science Officer International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research
“And, yet several more anecdotes.
I remember Carl – we called him Dr. Christ, back then. I was a grad student in the latter part of the 1970s; macroeconomics and international finance were my declared fields.
I remember Carl most vividly for his skillful and intuitive application of mathematical modeling to the greater understanding of macroeconomic theory and policy.
One of my fondest memories of him, was observing how he sat during our general seminars. I remember chuckling to myself, as I watched him, sitting in his chair, his legs folded up underneath him, in the shape of a pretzel. I always marveled at his ability to do that. 🙂
Like the other professors in the department, he was dedicated to his students, the Department, the University, and his profession.
Certainly, one of the great ones!
He will be missed!
My condolences to his wife and family.”
Milt Pappas, Ph.D.
“Carl Christ was an inspiration to me. He was a brilliant economist and very approachable. As a student, I remember that any of the students would walk past his office and he would call out a welcoming greeting to us. My first teaching experience was as a TA for him and I learned a lot from him. I am still a Professor!
Carl, rest in peace and send your blessings to us here on earth.”
Marianne McGarry Wolf, Ph.D. , Wine and Viticulture Department, California Polytechnic State University
” I have just learnt about the sad demise of my most respected Professor Carl Christ. He is the one who offered me the admission with Fellowship to the Graduate Program in Economics at JHU in 1966, was my Ph.D. dissertation major guide along with late Prof Niehans); wrote a rather strong recommendation to my first post Ph.D. employer, IIM Ahmedabad (India), where I served 1970 through until my retirement in 2010; gave a strong recommendation to the Illinois State University, where I served as a full time visiting professor for five semesters at different times during 1982-1990; among several other critical helps. More than these, he was the one who taught me how to conduct research, how to develop econometric models, and how to even draft the thesis in good and correct English language (he corrected the language of the entire first chapter of my thesis and asked me to correct the rest in the same ways). As he was away in England as a Visiting Professor during 1966-67, I missed having had any full course under him, though a lot of my learning in Macroeconomics and Econometrics is due to him. He encouraged me whenever I was upset during my thesis work, helped me even when I had personal difficulties, and arranged my thesis defense shortly after the Commencement as I was keen to return back to India to attend my sister’s wedding. On personal level, he invited me with his family to his house and blessed my wife and both daughters! Such a teacher and guide, rare to find, had been a great boon to me and my accomplishments. Prof Christ, Prof Niehans and Prof Edwin Mills, all at JHU, were great Professors to me! All of them were/are great economists and I have always felt great pride through them.
It has been my great fortune and privilege to be a student of Prof Carl Christ. I offer my humble prayers to the Almighty GOD to grant peace to the departed soul, and courage and strength to the bereaved family to bear this loss. Prof Christ will always remain in my heart and mind through my life. “
Girdharilal Saduram Gupta
“Carl Christ was an inspiring teacher. I was fortunate to be his research assistant (or one of them) on his econometrics text and in fact am cited in the acknowledgements in the book. It was a great honor to work with him.”
“Good memories of a fine man, Bob (Robert Van Order). I was on campus 1963-65 when he was doing his book (then went off to South Korea and finished the dissertation later on the work there). I do remember to this day his emphasis on identification and am glad you mentioned it.”
Roger Norton, ’71 , Texas A&M University
“The tributes to Carl Christ are really nice to read. I entered Professor Christ’s econometrics class when I arrived at Hopkins, in 1971. The first thing he did was to give everyone a 5 dollar bill, which he told us was the royalty on his book that we had to buy for the class. I was impressed, as were others – indeed, I can still see that scene in my mind even now. Later on, I marked his econometrics assignments, and he became my thesis supervisor. He was a famous scholar of uncompromising integrity with his students and in his own work. By example, he inspires still.
My deepest condolences to Mrs. Christ and her family.”
Stanley L. Winer , Canada Research Chair Professor in Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Department of Economics, Carleton University, Canada
“I was a student at Hopkins 1973-77. Carl taught me econometrics-and impressed upon me the importance of identification and, as a result, structural estimation. I passed his semester of economic tricks, but failed the second semester (with Charley Mallor, I believe). They gave me an oral exam—he and Charley. Carl’s synopsis—“It’s like pulling teeth, but you pass. Just don’t do a thesis in econometrics.” Good advice.
His ability to sit like a pretzel, his good cheer on every day I ever was in his presence, his willingness to slide hard into the catcher at the annual softball game, his obsessively-compulsively organized office (journals were organized like dentin woodwork on a house, with each year’s worth of a journal lined up perfectly, but every other year’s collection pulled forward precisely one inch)—all were memorable. But grad school is an apprenticeship, and Carl was unstinting in his ability–by example and by the gifts of his time—to develop us into fellow professionals.
If there is an afterlife, I’ll bet for Carl it involves him sailing Lake Michigan in the mornings and writing research in the afternoons—as was his wont during the summers when I knew him.”
Robert A Driskill , Vanderbilt University
“Like all of us I have a great memory of Prof Christ. I was at JHU during 1968 to 1972. He was not my thesis advisor, but I had always learned from him in and out of his courses. He was always a great teacher. And one summer I had the privilege of living in his beautiful home, being his house keeper when he was on vacation. When I was returning to Thailand to begin my teaching career at Thammasat University he gave me one advice which I always follow. He said ‘when writing a recommendation letter, always tell the truth’.
I am forever grateful for what he had done for me.”
Narongchai Akrasanee , Bangkok, Thailand
“Thank you everybody for bringing back wonderful memories about Dr Christ who contributed so much in making my Hopkins years (1973-77) so enjoyable.
Like Jim and Ugo put so eloquently, Dr Christ was indeed a scholar, a teacher, a true gentleman and a mentor. He was also a father figure for foreign students like me.
I was very moved to read in his obituary that he “regularly participated in a weekly protest staged by residents along 40th Street in front of Roland Park Place, where he could be spotted carrying a sign that read “War is not the answer.””
We were lucky to have known him and to benefit from his teachings of economic tricks and more importantly from his exemplary behaviour as a teacher and mentor that will always be wit us.
My sincere condolences to his wife and family.”
“Fun to read so many tributes to Carl. Certainly, a “man for all seasons”, one who was always civil and professionally courteous in all situations which I can remember in my JHU days. After almost 40 plus years in academic life, I certainly appreciate the witness of Carl’s manner and style of interacting with colleagues and students. A collegiality which we cannot always take for granted, and which we cannot ever underestimate as a value when we recruit faculty in our institutions.
On his teaching and academic advising, looking back, of course, we of my vintage remember well the extensive treatment of identification and of properly-specified government budget constraints in any model, for meaningful policy discussion.
We of the Johns Hopkins diaspora were very fortunately to have him as one of our professors.”
“Professor Carl F. Christ was my and Poonsa-nga econometrics professor and Dissertation Adviser in different period of time in the 70’s. He was an amazing scholar, teacher, a true gentleman, a great mentor and the life at Hopkins.
He was liked our father during our wedding and beyond. It was a big opportunity provided by him for Poonsanga to be a postdoctoral fellow at MIT in 1976 and for me to do my dissertation immediately after being a Ph.D. candidate.
I have stayed with him and Mrs. Phyllis three times, first with Poonsanga in Baltimore home in 1982, second I was alone in his summer home with Lucy and her family and the third with my two sisters in their Baltimore home in 2006.
Apart from losing our teacher and dissertation adviser, we have lost our beloved father. He will be in our hearts for ever. Our sincere condolences to Mom Phyllis and their 3 daughters and grandchildren.”
Poonsa-nga and Borwornsri Somboonpanya Ph.Ds , International Education Travel Co., Ltd. (IET), Bangkok, THAILAND
“I have very fond memories of my days as a graduate student at JHU in the 60s.
Carl was a great teacher, a model as a scholar, and a wonderful and unforgettable person.”
“Carl lived a long, active and productive life.
I was only on the faculty at Hopkins for a year as a young assistant professor, but Carl was remarkably kind and always prepared to discuss without any condescension and when I came back for a brief visit in 2006 it was as if I had never been away. A true gentleman and a scholar.”
Alan Kirman , Directeur d’études à l’EHESS, Membre de l’IUF, Professeur émerite à Aix-Marseille Université, Paris
“It is great to read the tributes to Carl Christ. I was also a student of his in the early 70’s as well as his TA. He cared about all his students; both the graduate and undergraduate students, and spent a great deal of time with them. As a first-year graduate student, I was assigned to be a discussant on a paper that he presented. When the paper was published, I was listed in the acknowledgements, which was a thrill for a young graduate student – the first time my name was in a journal.
He has been a role model for me as an academic. When I do empirical work, I always think of him and his admonishment that no matter how sophisticated the methods, the work stands on the economics behind it.”
Susan Vroman , Department of Economics, Georgetown University
“I have very fond memories of Carl that go as far back as 1952 when I started my graduate studies at JHU. I took econometrics from him, way before his book came out. The following year Richard Stone was visiting Hopkins and he and Carl organized an evening seminar to read Morgenstern and von Neumann on the theory of games – way before game theory became popular.
The last time I saw Carl and Phyllis was at a conference in 2014. Attached is a photo from that conference of Carl with Takeshi Amemiya, Al Harberger and me.”
[p.s. photo located in image gallery on this page]
Marc Nerlove , Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland College Park
“I took econometrics from Carl in the mid 1970s. I had no idea about his background in physics until I read his obituary. I think this background explains why Carl always thought that there should be no conflict between economic theory and econometrics; they are complementary. This view of economic research was what he imparted to generations of his students. It was his imprint on those of us lucky enough to takes his courses.
He truly was a gentleman and a scholar and as decent a man as I have known. My condolences to his family on their loss.”
Robert J. Rossana , Dept. of Economics, Wayne State University
“Dr. Christ was my graduate econometrics professor and I was his TA for undergraduate macroeconomics in spring ‘92.
As I recall, it was a large class and I assisted Dr. Christ in exam grading and keeping track of records which he all scribed by hand. He was of the generation prior to the internet age, and I remember him being extremely afraid of computer viruses affecting his non-internet ready PC with a floppy disk drive.
My efforts to cajole him into using Excel to add efficacy was futile and I was vetoed with his totally convinced _expression_ that this may infect his computer. I thought it was funny that an intellectual giant of physics and math/stat-intensive econometrics would be so concerned with a computer virus which had almost no chance of penetrating his computer.
He was a great communicator who resonated with undergraduate students. He will be greatly missed.”
Jongsung Kim , Professor of Economics, Bryant University
“I entered the program too late to take Carl’s courses. When I was on the job market, Carl was the one who taught me how to communicate and negotiate with the other side. Maybe that was the time he taught me the real “economic tricks.” When he was very happy to know that I got an offer from U Texas, Carl said, “You see, you are already wearing jeans.” Then he told me the joke that, since Texans are so proud of being the largest state in the contiguous US, Alaskans would split the state in half so that Texas would become the third largest state in the US. I still remember his smile, which I saw several times again since I moved back to Hopkins. Maybe that is the thing that lured me back: an celebrated academic with a warm heart.”
Yingyao Hu , Professor of Economics, Johns Hopkins University
“I was very saddened to hear of the passing away of Professor Christ. I was his student in the early seventies when I was a graduate student at Hopkins. He was a great teacher and a wonderful person. I too remember him returning the royalty money to the students who had purchased the Econometrics textbook. His stress on the Identification problem has stayed with all of us it seems.
Professor Christ was an inspiring teacher, and could set tough exams. He would set an open book final exam and students had twenty four hours to complete it. Most of us had to stay up all night trying to figure out the answers! He was an enthusiastic participant in all department activities, whether dissertation seminars or even Halloween parties!
Professor Christ was also my dissertation adviser,together with Professor Hugh Rose. He was generous with his time, and our discussions were always stimulating and thought provoking. My husband and I stayed with him and his wife when I visited Hopkins for my graduation, and we remember their warm hospitality. Please convey my sincere condolences to his wife, and other family members.”
Bimal Kaicker Beri
“I studied in Hopkins 1966-69, took Carl’s modules on macroeconomics and econometrics, worked as his TA in undergraduate macroeconomics and benefited from generous hospitality at his fine house .
I have nothing but happy memories of my interactions with him during those years. He was brilliant without showmanship, considerate in all matters, diligent and conscientious as a lecturer. He gave us graduate students a deep and long-lasting insight into macroeconomic foundations. I count myself lucky to have had him as teacher and mentor.
There was something quintessentially American about him. He embodied the best of American virtues: openness, honesty, seriousness of purpose combined with optimism and a prevailing cheerfulness. Unlike many other US academic economists he seemed to have a strong sense of place, as witness his enduring devotion to Hopkins.
He was rightly admired as a man of the highest integrity. One of many instances of this stays in my memory. The recommended text for his econometrics module was (naturally and properly) his own textbook Econometric Models and Methods that had recently been published. It was an expensive tome and he was conscious of the tight budget constraint many of us graduates were subject to in those days. He believed it was wrong for him to benefit personally from his choice of textbook. Accordingly everyone in the class who had bought his book was given an envelope addressed in his own hand containing the amount of the royalty he would receive from each sale, calibrated to the last cent.
Thank you, Carl! I’ll raise a glass to you for a good life well-lived.
May he rest in peace.”
Dermot McAleese , Emeritus Whately Professor of Political Economy, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news that Mr. Carl Christ has passed away on April 21, 2017. I join my fellow econ-alumni in offering my condolences to the family and friends of Carl was my teacher and thesis supervisor (with Bela Balaasa and Lawrence Klein (from U Penn) at the Department of Political Economy during 1985-1987. He was not only a kind teacher but also a great human being as he was always willing to help student.
What I liked most about Carl was that he would comment on the papers of the faculty and graduate students during Graduate Student Seminars in a polite yet constructive manner. I never found him being harsh while offering comments. I had the opportunity to interact with Carl on a regular basis, when I was writing my Ph.D. dissertation. His comments were always constructive and improved the quality of my work.
Let me share with my fellow econ-alumni some interesting facts about Carl and my Ph.D. defense. I defended my thesis on August 5, 1987. By then Carl had already left for Beijing to set up JHU Campus in China. My other supervisor, Bela Balassa had to go through 13 hours throat surgery in Washington, D.C on August 4, 1987—a day prior to my defense. He too, was therefore not available during my defense. Larry Klein was in some Latin American Country and had promised to be present at my defense on August 5. By 10:50 am (the defense time was 11:00 am), Klein did not show up at the JHU which made me really nervous, thinking that none of my supervisors would be there during my defense. However, by 10:55am, Larry Klein entered the building of Economic department. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Larry Klein with his travel bag entering the department. Bruce Hamilton and Louis Maccini represented Carl and Balassa in my defense.
Before Carl left for Beijing, I had a long meeting with him in his office where we went through the final draft of the thesis. He was very much satisfied with my work which gave me enough confidence and encouragement to defend my thesis, of course, Larry Klein was a great source of strength during the defense. I defended my thesis on August 5, 1987 with minor comments; submitted the revised version within 10 days and left US on August 25, 1987. My thesis defense was a memorable event for me as I defended my thesis in the absence of two of my supervisors (Carl and Bela).
It was indeed a privilege and honor for not only knowing Carl but also being his student. With Carl’s demise, I lost all of my thesis supervisors. The world has lost three great human beings that the God had bestowed on us. May God rest Carl’s, Bela’s and Klein’s souls in peace and give strength to their families and friends to bear this loss.”
Professor Ashfaque Hasan Khan , Principal & Dean, School of Social Sciences & Humanities (S3H), National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Islamabad
“I entered Hopkins in 1961, the same year as the second coming of Carl to JHU. When I applied to JHU, I was attracted by the names like Machlup, Domar, and Musgrave, but both Machlup and Domar were gone by the time I entered. Musgrave was still there for two more years, and I learned a great deal by reading his textbook Public Finance. A greatest boost for me, however, was the fact that Carl came back in the same year. He invited me to his office and asked me if I liked mathematics. I proudly answered yes. Then he asked me if I knew differential equations. My heart sagged as I didn’t know them. During the first two years at Hopkins I worked as research assistant to Dr. Edwin Mills in his project on water resources. It was good education for me as Dr. Mills was a man of a very sharp mind. But I was bogged down by the need to study geology of water, which I found extremely boring. Just then Carl came along and suggested I should work on econometrics, which I did. Initially I had planned to finish my dissertation in two years, but as my father became rather ill, I wanted to finish the thesis in one year and go back to Japan with a doctor’s degree and show it to my father. He died two weeks after I came home. I couldn’t have finished the thesis in one year without Carl’s cooperation way beyond his duty. The other members of the committee were Edwin Mills and Geoff Watson, to whom I am also grateful.”
Takeshi Amemiya , Stanford University
“I took Dr. Christ’s course in Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory in spring 1963, and his econometrics course in 1965-66. Dr. Christ was a brilliant and challenging teacher. He always gave each student, who purchased his econometrics book for class, a refund equal to the amount of the book royalty. I have never had another professor do that. During my time in graduate school, Dr. Christ was the Department Chair. In my opinion, he did an excellent job.”
Alan Sorkin , Ph.D.,1966
“As a grad student, I took Professor Christ’s Econometrics course in 1971-72 and also TA’d for him in the undergraduate macro principles course. For someone seeking a career at a teaching institution, as I did, there couldn’t have been a better role model than Professor Christ. He took great pains to make sure the TA’s knew what he would be lecturing on before each class, prepared us for what would be the most difficult material for the students, allowed us (really, expected us) to come up with our own quiz and exam questions, met with us regularly, etc. One day each week he would have lunch in the undergraduates’ cafeteria, just so his students would have a chance to interact with him outside the classroom setting. What a great example he set of a true teacher-scholar! I feel very fortunate to have been mentored by him.”
Geoffrey Gilbert , Professor Emeritus of Economics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
I once came across Dr. Carl Christ in the hallway when I was still a graduate student. We briefly talked and he was very approachable to me. He gave me a lot of encouragement on economics study and also a few books that I still keep them now. He was a gracious scholar and gentleman.
Yizhen Zhao , East Carolina University
Carl Christ has made a lasting positive difference. He was my thesis supervisor
during my graduate school days at Hopkins (1962-1966). I also served as his teaching assistant in an undergraduate course in economics. I chose university teaching and research as a profession, from which I am now retired. Whenever a student thanked me for my supervision and advice, I smiled in thankful remembrance of my experience with Professor Christ. I endeavoured to pass on the Christ attitude towards students, even though lacking his natural devotion to the cause of education and, above all, his easy ability to detect and direct you, always, to the important details in the analysis or argument. I received prompt and insightful comment when I submitted research to Carl Christ as late as 2004. A resounding thank-you. May the life that Carl Christ lived lessen the family’s grief at his passing.
John W. Iton , Ph.D.(1966) Retired
I would like to mention another way in which Carl Christ was a memorable professor — he was a terrific teacher of undergraduates.
I was an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins (BA ’88), and I went on to graduate school in economics later on. I took Macro Principles with Carl (or Dr. Christ, as I called him then), and Micro Principles with Bruce Hamilton, and both the content of these classes and the personal regard of both professors had a huge influence on me. (And while I’m mentioning it, so did my first TAs, Jonathan Neuberger and Greg Hess.)
Carl was gracious to everyone, but not only that — he took me, as a 19-year-old, seriously. I recognize, now that I am a professor too, how meaningful that is. I got more and more excited about economics the more classes I took, and I ended up taking some first-year graduate classes, including econometrics from Carl, before I left Hopkins. As many of the letter writers have mentioned, his emphasis on simultaneous equations models stayed with me forever after!
I look back very fondly on these formative years that I experienced at Johns Hopkins.
Leora Friedberg , Department of Economics, University of Virginia
Carl and I exchanged holiday cards regularly for more than 40 years, updating each other on our professional, family, and social accomplishments and challenges. Like many of my fellow Hopkins doctoral students, Carl Christ was a friendly, insightful, and demanding professor: certainly one of the great leaders in the department when I was there from 1967-71. Two anecdotes: Our econometrics class was one of the first to use his textbooks. One of the students in the class – not me – off handedly mentioned that there might be a conflict of interest if an instructor required his students to purchase a book that he had written. The next class day Carl gave each of us who had purchased the book something like $2.00 to reflect his royalties. However, his generosity had limits: there was nothing for anyone who had purchases a used copy. Second: At the time I was at Hopkins the department was on the top floor of Gilman Hall. There was a back staircase, and one day after lunch several doctoral students, including myself, decided to race us the stairs from the ground floor. We did this in waves, and not very quietly. At one point, at the top of the landing, we were greeted by Carl, and expected a stern “what are you doing?” or “you are disturbing the peace.” Instead, he simply smiled and asked what was the best time. I suspect that he might have tried to beat it!
Bruce Jaffee , Emeritus Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University