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A. Myrick Freeman, former Professor of Economics, passes away

February 11, 2022

A. Myrick Freeman, former William D. Shipman Professor of Economics Emeritus, passed away on February 6 of natural causes. He was 86 years old.

Freeman graduated from Cornell University in 1957 and proceeded to serve as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy until 1964. During his time with the Navy, he ultimately rose to the rank of a lieutenant commander. In 1964, he earned an M.A. degree from the University of Washington and earned a Ph.D. the following year from the same university.

He began his Bowdoin career in 1965 as an assistant professor of economics in 1965, became an associate professor in 1970 and a professor in 1975. He earned his title as the William D. Shipman Professor of Economics in 1993. During his 35 years as a member of the faculty, he also served as chair of the economics department and as the director of the College’s Environmental Studies program for two terms. Freeman retired in 2000.

“Rick’s areas of interest were the economics of environmental policy, applied welfare economics, benefit-cost analysis, and risk management as applied to environmental and resource management issues,” President Clayton Rose wrote in an email to all employees. “Students who were fortunate enough to study with Rick were inspired by his commitment to environmental stewardship and to citizen engagement in the shaping of public policy.”

Freeman authored or co-authored eight books, including “The Economics of Environmental Policy,” “Air and Water Pollution Control: A Benefit-Cost Analysis,” “The Benefits of Environmental Improvement: Theory and Practice” and “The Measurement of Environmental and Resource Values: Theory and Methods.” Freeman’s last two books earned him the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists’ 2002 Publication of Enduring Quality Award.

“Over the years, Rick’s expertise was sought out by policy makers in federal, state, and local governments and by regulatory agencies. He was a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, a member of the Board of Toxicology and Environmental Health Hazards of the National Academy of Sciences, and a co-chair of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee of the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as a member of the Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis and the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee of the EPA,” Rose wrote.

Throughout his life, Freeman also served on several local committees in Georgetown, ME, where he lived with his family beginning in 1977. In 2019, he was named Georgetown’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

“Rick leaves a tremendous legacy of service to the common good—in his scholarship, his advocacy for responsible stewardship of natural resources, his commitment to civil engagement, his teaching, his many years of singing in the Bowdoin Chorus, and in the example of his life. Rick made Bowdoin better, and we join with his family, his colleagues, his former students, his friends, his neighbors, and with others in celebration of a life well lived,” Rose wrote.


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