Stanislaw Wellisz (1925-2016)

Stanislaw Wellisz, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor Emeritus of Economics and International Relations, was a Polish-born economist and longtime Columbia University professor who helped guide his native country’s transition from communism to capitalism. He specialized in development economics, a field that satisfied his fascination with world cultures and his deep desire to help the poor. He helped draw up a new tariff structure for Nepal, aided Venezuela’s efforts to restructure its finances and advised city planners in Calcutta and Istanbul. He was a member of World Bank missions to Iran, Jordan, Algeria and the former Yugoslavia. He joined the Department of Economics at Columbia in 1964 after teaching at the University of Chicago (Business) and Williams College. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1954. In 1998 he received an honorary doctorate from Warsaw University as well as the Officer of Polish Legion of Merit. Wellisz was Chair of the Department at Columbia for three years and acting Chair for another year. He retired in 2006.