In Memory: Professor Emeritus Steve Horwitz
St. Lawrence pauses in sadness and tribute to note the death on June 27 of our colleague, teacher, and friend Steve Horwitz, Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics Emeritus. A member of the faculty for 28 years, Steve inspired his students as a demanding teacher, a model scholar, and an exemplary campus citizen. He served with great good effect as the Associate Dean of the First Year Program from 2001 to 2007. In that role, Steve often advised other colleges on living-learning communities and the significance of teaching communication skills to first-year students.
Steve was the author of three books: Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Microfoundations and Macroeconomics: An Austrian Perspective (Routledge, 2000), and Monetary Evolutions, Free Banking, and Economic Order (Westview, 1992). He wrote extensively on the Austrian School of economics, Hayekian political economy, monetary theory, and American economic history. His work was featured in professional journals such as History of Political Economy, Southern Economic Journal, and The Cambridge Journal of Economics.
The writer of numerous op-eds, Horwitz was also a frequent guest on television and radio programs. He enjoyed contributing blogs at “Bleeding Heart Libertarians” and wrote regularly for FEE.org. A member of the Mont Pelerin Society, Steve had earned a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy from the University of Michigan.
After retiring from St. Lawrence, Steve was appointed Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise in the Department of Economics in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, a position he held at the time of his death. He was also the Director of the Institute for the Study of Political Economy.
Steve was a long-time faculty member at the summer seminars of the Institute for Humane Studies and the Foundation for Economic Education and a Senior Affiliated Scholar of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he had conducted nationally recognized research on the role of Wal-Mart and the U. S. Coast Guard in the 2005 response to Hurricane Katrina.
Steve was never shy about his passions, which included ice hockey, particularly in support of the Detroit Red Wings and, of course, the Skating Saints. He had equivalent zeal for the Canadian rock band Rush. He combined his musical allegiance and his professional life by writing two scholarly articles on Rush in 2003.
A benevolent contrarian, who loved the contest of ideas, he could sometimes be forceful in his arguments, but I also observed graciousness when he needed to retreat from a position he had taken. More than once, Steve thanked me for the University’s embrace of academic freedom and principles of campus speech. All who knew Steve’s academic work understood his fervor for radical laissez-faire economic theory, but in an irony he relished, he was also known on campus as the most articulate teacher of Karl Marx’s ideas.
I often teased Steve that if St. Lawrence had an endowed faculty chair named for John Maynard Keynes, would he consider its possibility. He would concede that he needed to think about it. When Steve was last on campus he spent an hour in my office. At the end of our conversation he said to me, “I just want to thank St. Lawrence for letting Horwitz be Horwitz.”
We have our memorial web site created for your reflections and will share any information about services or remembrances with you when we have information from Steve’s family.