As many readers of this blog may already know, Dr. Jon Brandt, Chair of my former department, NCSU's Agricultural and Resource Economics, died just after Thanksgiving.
His passing was a devastating blow and a big surprise to me and everyone I've spoken to about it. He seemed to be the healthiest mid-60s man I knew.
Jon had a long and decorated career, but I knew him mainly as my boss. It's often said that chairing an academic department is like herding cats, because academics can have large egos and sharply contrary views and opinions. Yet Jon did this happily, and to the apparent satisfaction of everyone, for a record 20 years. I certainly appreciated his support during a delicate period in my career.
A special purpose fund is being developed by the AAEA (kudos to Barry Goodwin) to fund an annual Jon Brandt Policy Forum in case anyone would like to contribute.