Dr. Campbell R. “Mac” McConnell, who taught economics at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business from 1953 until his retirement in 1990, died January 5. Distinguished for his research, teaching and service, McConnell may be best known for his landmark textbook, “Economics,” which remains in use today, now in its 21st edition.
McConnell’s accomplishments include receiving the Distinguished Teaching Award at Nebraska in 1962, the James Lake Academic Freedom Award in 1991 and the Distinguished Faculty Award, which he received post-retirement in 1994. Cornell College, where he received his bachelor of arts, awarded him an honorary Doctor of Law degree in 1973 and a Distinguished Achievement Award in 1994.
Nevertheless, it was at Nebraska where he made his greatest impact. Dr. Scott Fuess, Steinhart Foundation Distinguished Professor of Business and Chair of the Department of Economics, came to Nebraska in 1986, and saw firsthand the achievements McConnell made to drive discovery and empower individuals, both as a teacher and a researcher.
“His teaching reached tens of thousands of Nebraska students, and his writings reached millions of economics students worldwide. Perhaps more importantly, Professor McConnell was a kind and selfless person, always eager to support the efforts of students and colleagues alike. He was a generous college benefactor. He will be sorely missed,” said Fuess.
Dr. Fred Luthans, University and George Holmes Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Management, taught at the College of Business with McConnell for more than 20 years. He credits McConnell with setting a standard at Nebraska which positioned the college to be a leader in all fields of academic research.
“McConnell received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, as did I, so we had a very close relationship being from the same school. He was the leading economist of his day, and his textbook was the number one textbook in any field. When the Soviet Union broke up in the early ’90s they translated his book and sold a half million copies in the Russian market,” said Luthans.
Preceded in death by his wife Marilyn of 55 years, McConnell served on a variety of national academic committees, including president of the Midwest Economics Association and a committee to revise the Graduate Record Examination in economics. He also served a term on the American Economic Association’s Committee on Economic Education.
Born June 2, 1928, McConnell was an avid collector of jazz music and enjoyed reading jazz history. He was also honored as an admiral in the Nebraska Navy for his contributions to the State of Nebraska.