Economics department gets first endowed professorship

By Linda B. Glaser

A $4 million gift from Ed Meyer ’48 has established the Edward H. Meyer Professorship of Economics, the first newly endowed professorship in the universitywide Department of Economics.

In 2011, just after the new economics department was formed, Meyer visited Cornell’s campus for the first time since he graduated and met with students and administrators enthusiastic about the new department, which merges the former economics departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the ILR School and includes joint-appointee faculty from Samuel C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the College of Human Ecology to create a cohesive new unit with 50 faculty members and more than 700 majors and Ph.D. students.

“I am really delighted to be able to help Cornell and Economics at Cornell,” said Meyer. “This newly reorganized Department of Economics is a stellar program, with outstanding leadership and great potential. I am delighted to be in a position to kick-start the expanded department’s plans and aspirations, and look forward to my continued involvement in the future.”

“Having Ed Meyer’s name associated with this professorship adds greatly to its distinction and will help us recruit and retain faculty of the highest caliber,” said Cornell President David J. Skorton. “Ed’s vision and generosity are deeply appreciated.”

According to Peter Lepage, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, economics is now one of the largest departments at Cornell, teaching more than 5,000 students per year. “Each of these students will have reason to appreciate Ed’s foresight and commitment to excellence in education that his generous gift represents,” said Lepage.

Kevin Hallock, the Joseph R. Rich ’80 Professor and the Donald C. Opatrny ’74 chair of the Department of Economics, said: “Having an endowed, named position like this allows us the ability to attract precisely the kinds of leading scholars we need to maintain our excellence and move toward our ambitious goals in teaching and research. Ed is an incredibly smart and kind person. I am delighted he is associated with our department in this way, and all of us in the department are very grateful to him.”

Meyer is regarded as a giant in the advertising industry. He retired in 2006 as chair, president and CEO of Grey Global Group Inc. (formerly Grey Advertising), a holding company for a wide spectrum of marketing and communication companies. The company’s clients include some of the largest and most prominent corporations in the world, including Procter and Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, BAT, Diageo, Nokia, Volkswagen, BellSouth, Syeth, Merck, Novartis and Con Agra. During his 35-year tenure as CEO, Meyer led Grey to financial prominence with revenues increasing by a factor of more than 40, from $29.5 million in 1970 to more than $1.3 billion in 2003. Under his leadership, Grey was transformed from a midsize U.S. agency into a global marketing communications powerhouse, operating in 83 countries spanning the globe.

Currently, Meyer is chair, CEO and CIO of Ocean Road Advisors Inc., one of three affiliated operating companies of Meyer and Co. LLC, of which Meyer’s son, Anthony Meyer, is chair. Ocean Road Advisors is an investment management company working with both families and philanthropic foundations.

Meyer and his wife, Sandra, also have a daughter, Margaret, who is a prominent economist and fellow at Nuffield College at Oxford, England. The Meyers reside in Manhattan.