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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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June 22, 2020

Business Faculty Retire With Distinguished Careers

Six Faculty Share a Combined 134 Years of Service
Business Faculty Retire With Distinguished Careers
Six faculty members retired from the College of Business this spring. They included: Dr. Matthew Cushing, professor of economics; Dr. Rick Edwards, professor of economics and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies; Dr. Mary McGarvey, associate professor of economics; Dr. William Walstad, John T. And Mable M. Hay Professor of Economics; Charles Waterson, assistant professor of practice in management, and Dr. Les Carlson, professor of marketing and Nathan J. Gold Distinguished Professorship.

Six prominent faculty members at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business are set to retire this spring and summer, closing this chapter of their academic careers. Whether researching the correlations in economics and the gender wage gap or mentoring entrepreneurial students to take their business to the next level, they each impacted the Nebraska Business community in Lincoln and around the world.

“We thank these six faculty members for their years of dedication and service to the Nebraska Business community. They exemplified the college’s mission through their teaching and research, empowering students to become future business leaders. They shared their expertise to further their respected fields in economics, entrepreneurship and marketing. We will miss them and wish them the best in their future endeavors,” said Dr. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business.

Department of Economics

Dr. Matthew Cushing, professor of economics, spent his time at Nebraska Business producing notable contributions to macroeconomics research for 26 years. He centered his research and teaching around macroeconomics, applied time series and forensic economics. His work has appeared in several top academic journals such as Economic Review, International Economic Review and Journal of Monetary Economics. Cushing’s research efforts marked nearly 400 citations from his work in macroeconomics, according to Google Scholar. He also served as faculty chair of the Ph.D. in Economics program and the faculty advisor of the Economic Graduate Student Association.

“During his career, Matt Cushing made a mark as a recognized scholar in the field of macroeconomics. As long-serving chair of the Department of Economics graduate program, Matt has been devoted to graduate student education and has been a diligent, tireless mentor of aspiring professionals,” said Dr. Scott Fuess, Steinhart Foundation Distinguished Professor of Business, Research Fellow Institute For The Study Of Labor (Iza) Bonn, Germany, and professor of economics.

Dr. Rick Edwards, professor of economics and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies held numerous key positions during his 23 years at the university. After serving as the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, he returned to the college as a professor and later as chair of the Department of Management. He earned both his master's and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Prior to teaching at Nebraska, Edwards served as chair of the economics department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky. He also served as the director for the Center for Great Plans Studies, whose mission is to foster the study of and appreciation for the people, cultures, and natural environment of the Great Plains. He wielded a wealth of knowledge in the history of the Great Plains which helped him co-author several books including Atlas of Nebraska, Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command, and Change and Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History.

“A versatile, visionary and compassionate scholar and colleague, Rick’s service to the University of Nebraska as a senior administrator, director, faculty member and department chair helped build a better, more vibrant university. He accomplished so much on behalf of this university, always setting the highest of standards for scholarship and integrity,” said Fuess.

Dr. Mary McGarvey, associate professor of economics, spent her 28 years at the college committed to expanding economics research, some of which included gender’s correlation in economics. Prior to her time at Nebraska, she taught economics at Georgia State University and Loyola College in Maryland. Part of her research focused on the gender wage gap, and revealed parallels between blue states and women breaking the glass ceiling, moving into higher paying, top positions in male-dominated fields. She also worked on a study that explored facets of differences in views between male and female economists in Europe, highlighting the importance of bringing both men and women to the table when forming economic policies.   

“Mary McGarvey’s research has been published in high-profile academic journals and earned considerable attention in leading news outlets. Mary’s expertise in teaching econometrics and statistics is much appreciated,” said Fuess.

Dr. William Walstad, John T. And Mable M. Hay Professor of Economics, retires after 38 years of service dedicated toward the betterment of economic and financial literacy in students at all levels. Walstad served as the chair of the American Economic Association’s standing Committee on Economic Education. He was also the principal investigator for the Teaching Innovations Program in economics, funded by the National Science Foundation, with the results reported in Teaching Innovations in Economics: Strategies and Applications for Interactive Instruction. He advocated for early economic education and focused his research around the assessment of economic and financial literacy at all education levels and ages. Walstad led the National Center for Research on Economic Education, housed in the Department of Economics, which advances the understanding of economic education through research and consultations with organizations on special projects. Through the council, he directed projects preparing different tests of understanding economics and personal finance for several stages of education, such as the Test of Economic Literacy for high school students.

“For many years, Bill Walstad has been known for his scholarship on economic education and his advocacy for financial literacy. Bill’s research has been path-breaking, and he has brought visibility and renown to the University of Nebraska,” said Fuess.

Department of Management

Charles Waterson originally joined the college as a graduate teaching assistant for six years, before later returning as a lecturer. After only two years, he became an assistant professor of practice in management and retired after seven years of service. He previously taught at Marquette University as a visiting instructor. Prior to teaching, he worked in the private industry with a focus in engineering for more than 20 years. Waterson taught entrepreneurship at the College of Business and helped propel young entrepreneurs through the Center for Entrepreneurship. He frequently served as a judge or mentor for entrepreneur competitions at the university such as the Engineering Pitch Competition and 3-2-1 Quick Pitch.

“Chuck was always willing to assist with center events, mentor students and provide input on curriculum. He cared deeply about entrepreneurship education and ensuring our students were ready for future endeavors,” said Dr. Sam Nelson, director of the Center of Entrepreneurship and associate professor of practice in management. “One of the best pieces of advice he ever gave me was ‘The approach you use on the first day of class will set the tone and student expectations for the remainder of the semester.’ I still remind myself of that quote on the first day of every class I teach. Everyone in the center will miss Chuck’s knowledge, wit and dry sense of humor.”

Department of Marketing

Dr. Les Carlson, professor of marketing and Nathan J. Gold Distinguished Professorship, joined the university as a graduate student, going on to earn his master’s and Ph.D. from Nebraska. He went on to teach at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and Clemson University. He returned to the College of Business in 2008, and briefly served as the interim chair for the Department of Marketing. His research has appeared in several top peer-reviewed academic journals such as Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research and Journal of Consumer Psychology. He also served as an editor for several academic journals such as the Journal of Advertising and the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing and was the past president and treasurer of the American Academy of Advertising (AAA). Carlson also received the distinction of being named a fellow in the AAA.

When faculty faced the challenge of converting courses to an online platform due to COVID-19 this spring, Carlson was commended for his dedication to transitioning to remote teaching during the last five weeks of his notable career. Read about Carlson's work as changes due to the pandemic went into effect.

“Les has always been a proponent of marketing playing an important role in impacting society and public policy,” said Dr. Ravi Sohi, professor, Robert D. Hays Distinguished Chair of Sales Excellence and chair of the Department of Marketing. “At Nebraska, he developed and taught a Ph.D. seminar on marketing and public policy that impacted our doctoral students. He is equally popular with undergraduates who love his interactive style of teaching. Moving to online classes a couple months before retirement was a significant challenge, but he handled it very well.”