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John E. Kwoka Jr. (left, with graduate assistant Kamen Madjarov), holds the Neal F. Finnegan Distinguished Chair in Economics. Named in honor of the current chairman of the Northeastern Board of Trustees, the Finnegan Chair has been funded by fellow trustee Jean C. Tempel.

Endowed Faculty Chair Enhances Northeastern's Academic Reputation

A key priority of the Leadership Campaign is to recruit and support world-class faculty through the establishment of endowed professorships and chairs.

The Finnegan Chair has been funded by a $1.5 million gift from Northeastern trustee Jean C. Tempel, managing partner of First Light Capital.

The Neal F. Finnegan Distinguished Chair in Economics, for example, was created to strengthen Northeastern's program in that field. The chair's inaugural holder, John E. Kwoka Jr., a renowned scholar who formerly taught at George Washington University, is making tremendous progress toward this goal.

In just eighteen months, Kwoka has helped develop a new specialized PhD program in applied economics; coordinated a monthly public forum featuring economic policy experts from across the university; brought a major economics journal to campus; and put together the first-ever international conference for leaders in the field of industrial organization.

The Finnegan Chair has been funded by a $1.5 million gift from Northeastern trustee Jean C. Tempel, managing partner of First Light Capital. The chair is named in honor of Neal F. Finnegan, BA'61, H'98, chairman of Citizens Bank of Massachusetts and of Northeastern's Board of Trustees.

Campaign Update spoke recently with Kwoka.

Q: What attracted you to Northeastern?
A: I've spent my career studying applied economics, which related economic theory to real-world business issues. Northeastern's practice-oriented, real-world approach to education is an ideal fit with my work.
Q: What makes NU special?
A: Several things. The applied orientation of its faculty and students, its commitment to the community, and certainly its determination to elevate itself into the upper tier of higher education. This is really an exciting place to be right now.
Q: How would you describe NU students?
A: Hard-working. Students who choose Northeastern are already thinking about their future professional lives and are prepared to work hard to reach their goals.
Q: What are you doing that is most relevant to current events?
A: My specialties include regulation and antitrust, which are very relevant to many of today's hot issues, such as the Microsoft case, California's energy crisis, and the Enron scandal.
Q: Any comments on the current economic climate?
A: I think we would be in recovery if not for the situation in Iraq. A global economy like ours depends on global stability.
Q: Tell us about your efforts to raise NU's profile in economics.
A: The Economics department is poised for major advancement. With our existing faculty, new topflight junior faculty, and a new PhD program, we think we can be the best graduate program around in applied economics.
Q: How has your appointment affected NU's reputation?
A: I have been able to promote the university wherever I go, to bring people to campus who might not otherwise set foot here, and to undertake important projects that will have Northeastern's name attached to them.
Q: Why is private support important to NU's goals?
A: All of the nation's top universities enjoy significant private support. In order for Northeastern to reach its goal for joining them, it needs more than tuition revenues to ensure topnotch teaching and research.

John E. Kwoka Jr., Neal F. Finnegan Distinguished Professor
Applied Economics
  This article appeared in the January 2003 issue of Northeastern University Magazine.          

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