Perhaps our youngest classmate, Mike Hartley (born on April 4, 1944) graduated from high school a few weeks after his 16th birthday. After receiving his Carleton degree at 20, Mike went on to the University of Pennsylvania and earned a Ph.D. in Economics under the guidance of Larry Kline. One of his colleagues at that time described him as one of the brightest lights in the department.
His first job was teaching at Duke University. After a few years, he moved to the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he taught and met his future wife Dorothy, a native of Jamaica. He then was appointed to a position in the research department of the World Bank in Washington, where he worked on econometric models for developing countries, with a focus on Sub-Sahara Africa. He was, for a time, a colleague of our classmate Eli Ndosi, who was also at the World Bank doing economic work on Africa.
In 1985, Mike’s neighbor, Norman Brad Blumenthal, a member of the review board of the Federal Communications Commission, was looking for someone to entertain at a fund raiser for the Broadcast Pioneers Library, under the patronage of President Ronald Reagan. Michael asked Dick Figge to take the job, and Dick successfully performed the same one-man play on Clarence Darrow by David Rintel that he shared at one of our ’64 reunions. It was well received; Dick remembers the episode as typical of Mike, reaching out with great kindness to his friends.
In 1986, Mike moved to the University of California at Riverside, where he taught and did economic research for the rest of his life. He has been described by a colleagues as a good friend, intellectually exciting, and highly engaging in his teaching and his interaction with all parts of the university community.
Mike also had a good sense of humor, and a love of practical jokes, which Dick Figge illustrates with this story from our senior year. Mike had developed a close relationship with his economics professors. So Dick challenged him to include a reference to a fictitious economist, Bronislaw Gimp, in his written essay for his comps exam. Michael took the dare and actually wrote two pages about economist Gimp. After completing the oral part of the exam, defending his essay, and after being told he had passed, Mike asked the two professors why they hadn’t asked him about the economist. One admitted that he hadn’t had time to read the essay, and the other said because he wasn’t familiar with economist Gimp, he was embarrassed to ask any questions about him.
Around 1988, Mike began experiencing mood change and medical problems, and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar depression, which vastly complicated his personal and professional life. Throughout the difficult times that followed, his wife Dorothy was fortunate to have assistance from one of many of Mike’s friends, including Dick, for support as the family battled the mental illness and Mike’s virtual incapacity. The depression eventually overwhelmed Mike, and he died in 2001.
In addition to his wife, Mike is survived by two daughters — Elisabeth, a consultant with Booz Hamilton, and Catherine, a researcher in cognitive behavior at Cornell University.