"A Great Legacy as a Legendary Prof"


Tribute gives Wadsworth Professor of Economics James Meehan a reason to learn how to use Facebook


James Meehan retired last semester after 39 years at Colby. For many students it was Meehan who introduced them to economics and economists, as he taught the gatekeeper course Microeconomic Theory. And while Meehan said he was amazed by how much he learned from his students (Professor of Economics David Findlay says Meehan’s “humility index is off the charts”), the posts on the Facebook page “A Tribute to Professor James W. Meehan Jr.” confirm that the converse was also true.

James Meehan
James Meehan, who retired as Wadsworth Professor of Economics, shown early in his 39-year Colby career.

An unedited sampling:

Your microtheory class shaped me as student of economics and instilled within me the work ethic, motivation, and critical thinking skills that will best serve me beyond Colby. I began to connect concepts within the classroom to articles I read in the newspaper and to work I was doing for other classes, transforming my interest in economics into a passion. —Kelley Foster ’12

When I think back to being in your classes, my strongest memory is that of continually being challenged to actually think (ignore the split infinitive­—this isn’t an English lesson!). … You pulled, pushed, cajoled, entertained and truly exercised my brain. Just recalling this makes my head hurt! Thanks for helping me to be a better thinker. —Greg Mills ’80

Thank you for the most rigorous class of my economics major :) You opened our minds and challenged us and taught us to think that little bit harder. —Anuradha Bhatnagar ’06

One of the great joys I’ve found in being an economics major since working on your extra-credit assignments is approaching almost all curiosities outside of the classroom (anything from car doors, to professional sports, to a very memorable lesson with pretzel M&M’s) with a fundamental basis in your countless marginal cost curves that will forever be etched on the dry erase boards on the first floor of Diamond. —Becky Newman ’13

I never even had you as a professor but you influenced my thinking and development in our conversations at events, seminars and one on one. That shows a commitment to the Economics Department and Colby community that is pretty remarkable. You could have easily run laps around me at any point and demonstrated your superior knowledge but it’s clear your goal was to bring out more ideas and cultivate more interest from your students, while gently steering them to hone and work on those ideas. I really appreciate that, and it certainly helped make me like economic regulation, which I have done for most of my career.  —Rob Gramlich ’91

Looking back all those years, I remain thankful for all that you’ve done in helping me become a proper economist.—Andrew Seltzer ’87

I could not have asked for a better class to complete not only my economics major, but also my Colby College career. Thank you for a great semester of baseball and econ!  —Samantha Merriweather ’12

I am very grateful to have taken your microeconomic theory class. This course solidified my interest in becoming an economics major and forced me to think critically and write analytically. I very much enjoyed working as your research assistant and interacting outside of the classroom on a subject for which we both have a passion. I look forward to reading the final draft whenever the paper is completed. Finally, thank you for the invaluable input during my internship search as well as the letters of recommendation. I appreciate the advice you offered me as I know it is backed by much experience. —Charles Davis ’13

You have left a great legacy as a legendary prof, and it’s hard to imagine how many students you have impacted. Thanks for getting me personally off to a good start over 35 years ago. Best wishes in your next chapter. —Tim Hussey ’78

Thanks for the hardest yet most rewarding start to college that I could have ever hoped for. —Dhruv Chadha ’07

Financial Markets and Micro Theory were two of the toughest and yet most interesting classes that I took at Colby. Thanks to your instruction and direction, however, they were not the two lowest grades that I earned! —Andrew Peterson ’08

When I told upper-class econ majors that I was taking micro-theory with you, they all said it is one of the most difficult courses in the department. I agree with them, but I indeed learned a lot. —Siyang Xu ’13

I was blessed to have some fantastic professors at Colby, and of those, you were right at the top. Know that you impacted many of your students’ lives profoundly. —Jeff Farley ’88

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