Thursday, 13 September 2018

John T. Ward, 1927-2018

The University of Waikato flew its flag at half mast yesterday, to mark the passing of Emeritus Professor John Trevor Ward on Tuesday. John was Inaugural Professor of Economics (and one of the first full professors at the University), appointed in 1965. He was Head of the Department of Economics for 25 years, and was the founding Dean of the School of Social Sciences. When the Department of Economics de-camped to join the School of Management Studies (as it was then), John was briefly the Dean, and he served terms on the University of Waikato Council and as president of the New Zealand Association of Economists. John retired from the University in 1990, and was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor.

All of this was long before my time at Waikato of course (and even before I had finished high school!), but John maintained a long association with the Department of Economics. I met him at a number of functions, including at prizegivings for our students. John clearly wanted the best for our economics students, and he endowed two prizes for top students - the Foundation Professor's Prize, which goes to the top student in ECONS101 (previously ECON100); and the J.T. Ward Prize, which goes to the top student in ECONS302 (or previously ECON202).

John's research interests spanned wide, including land use, health economics, and cost-benefit evaluation. A quick search of Google Scholar demonstrates this, with his publications including: Economic principles of land use: A comparison of agriculture and forestry (in the New Zealand Journal of Forestry, 1963), Health expenditure in New Zealand (in Economic Record, 1972), and Compensation for Maori land rights. A case study of the Otago tenths (in New Zealand Economic Papers, 1986). He also published the very first paper for the Agricultural Economics Research Unit (AERU) at Lincoln College (it wasn't a university then) in 1964, entitled The systematic evaluation of development projects.

John is survived by his wife Anne, children Tony, David and Michael, and five grandchildren. His funeral is to be held tomorrow morning, at the Lady Goodfellow Chapel on the University of Waikato campus. He will be missed.

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