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Darla Moore School of Business


Ph.D. alumnus establishes fellowship fund to honor economics professor emeritus

Feb. 11, 2019

John “Jack” Helmuth (Ph.D. '81) and a group of former Ph.D. candidates at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business are leading the effort to create a fellowship fund for economics students in the Ph.D. program to honor of Professor Emeritus Ron Wilder. Wilder taught and mentored Ph.D. students as an economics professor at the Moore School for more than 30 years.

Helmuth, now a finance professor at the University of Michigan-Flint, is leading the effort with his peers to honor his former mentor.

“So many of us have gone on to replicate what he did for us,” Helmuth said. “What he did for us, we do for our students — teaching them and guiding them, year-in and year-out. Ron is a wonderful role model and we try to replicate that sense of understanding and obligation to economics that he provided to us.”

Helmuth and others hope to exceed the minimum of $25,000 to establish the fund to ensure the fellowship is awarded in perpetuity.

Helmuth and his peers anticipate that the fellowship will fulfill a critical need to attract and maintain the very best students for the Moore School, especially those who exhibit outstanding potential in the economics field and have a financial need.

As someone who has gone through the rigorous Ph.D. program, Helmuth understands the challenges both academically and financially. He mentioned how understanding Wilder was of student challenges while he was a professor.

“He was very supportive and understanding that Ph.D. students sometimes have to borrow money to buy gas to get to campus,” Helmuth said. “Giving under Ron’s name is a way of giving back and helping students just like Ron helped us. We want students to have access to the economics Ph.D. program.”

Helmuth, along with the other alumni supporting this fellowship, hopes to encourage supporting graduate education at the Moore School. “We want to give back so other students can follow in the footsteps that Ron helped establish,” he said.

As for Wilder, he is incredibly appreciative of the alumni establishing the fellowship in his name. “It is a great honor to be recognized by my former doctoral student, Jack Helmuth,” Wilder said. “I am pleased that Jack has such a high regard for the Department of Economics and the Darla Moore School of Business that he is doing this.”

By Samantha Hayes