Remembering Professor Yale Meltzer

For numerous reasons, the Department of Economics has been greatly delayed in informing the CSI community of the passing of one of our long-time faculty members, Professor Yale Meltzer. We sincerely regret this delay. This past summer the Chair interviewed Yale’s son, Mr. Benjamin Meltzer, and is putting together a short biography for the legacy project at the Chazanoff School of Business. A summary is below.

Yale Meltzer passed away in September 2018. He was a professor in our former Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy (PEP) Department for 32 years, first at the Sunnyside campus from 1977 until 1982 and then on the current CSI campus until 2009, the year he retired.

He spent most of his life in New York City. A Brooklyn native, he graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1950, and Columbia University in 1954 (Chemistry and Liberal Arts majors); he also studied law at Columbia for one year, completed an MBA (Economics) at New York University and in the mid-1960s finished most of the coursework toward a PhD in Economics at The Graduate School, CUNY. Prior to becoming a full-time professor, Yale was employed in a variety of positions, including assistant to a chief patent lawyer, factory manager, research chemist at H. Kohnstamm & Co., and finally a securities analyst. Further, from 1962 until 1968, he worked on a special study, first on request by President John F. Kennedy and later by President Lyndon B. Johnson on an analysis of the effects of the Kennedy Round of GATT negotiations on the U.S. economy.

Within the PEP Department at CSI, Yale brought and developed a strong interest in teaching about finance and financial markets. He had a penchant for teaching students about the U.S. economy, the federal budget, the allocation of public resources, the taxation system, and taxation principles. 

Yale  spent  many  hours  advising  students  for  careers  in  the  finance  sector. It was clear that he cared very much about his students and what they planned to do with their professional lives. We estimate that through his teaching he came into contact with well over 6,000 different students. According to his son Benjamin, his favorite career, and his final one, was college professor.

Over the course of his professional life, he published 16 books, about one a year during a 17-year stretch from 1967 to 1984. A few concerned economics and finance, but the majority were about specific topics in chemistry, such as the Soviet chemical industry, plastics, and water-soluble polymers. His writing career came to an end in 1984 when he shifted some of his time to caring for his wife Annette, his college sweetheart.

A handful of us in the former PEP Department knew Yale in the 1980s and 1990s, while a much greater number knew him from the 2000s. We all remember him as an excellent member of the PEP Department.

He was an exceedingly polite colleague and always greeted people on campus with a smile. We department members in Economics and in the other offshoots of the former PEP Department will never forget his kindness and his devotion to his students, the Department, the College, and to his family. We mourn Yale’s passing and miss him.

Simone Wegge and Vasilios Petratos