A Special Tribute to Lars Peter Hansen from Dean Douglas D. Anderson

Lars Peter HansenToday, like all of Utah State University, we are celebrating the selection of Dr. Lars Peter Hansen, of the University of Chicago, as this year’s Nobel Laureate in Economics. He shares this honor with two other, eminent economists, Eugene Fama and Robert Shiller. Lars graduated from USU in 1974, majoring in mathematics and political science and completing most of the requirements for a major in economics. I had the privilege of being his classmate. Lars was clearly the smartest guy in the room, but he never seemed interested in proving that. He was generous and fun, and one of the deepest thinkers I have ever met—genuinely curious about the way the world works, and not satisfied with simple-minded answers. Oliver Wendell Holmes said something like, “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Lars has spent his life searching for the simplicity on the far side of complexity. It’s enormously gratifying that the Nobel committee has recognized his success in this endeavor. It’s also inspirational to think that a young man could grow up in Logan, go to Logan High School and graduate from Utah State, and then take the talents and gifts that were his natural endowment, add hard work and devotion, and rise to the pinnacle of his profession. That is what we mean when we say, “Dare Mighty Things!” Congratulations, Lars. You’ve made us proud!