University of California, San Diego


March 13, 2001


SUBJECT:  In Memoriam Walter P. Heller, 1942 - 2001

I am saddened to inform you of the death, on March 2, of Walter Perrin Heller, Professor of Economics. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

Prior to joining the University of California San Diego faculty in 1974, Professor Heller served on the faculty of the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania. At UCSD his activities centered on research, teaching, and campus land use planning. He was well known in the UCSD Academic Senate for his Chairmanship of the Campus Community and Environment Committee, helping to direct comprehensive planning for construction and development of the campus.

Professor Heller's teaching focused on economic policy and efficient use of resources in government services and the environment. Prof. Heller's students, spread throughout the US and California, were consistently devoted to him. Colleagues regarded him as an "economist's economist," the one you discuss problems with when the textbooks won't solve them. His research, published in leading academic economics journals and volumes in honor of colleagues, centered on economic theory. It focused on the stability of economic growth, foundations of unemployment and the demand for money, and the use of markets to allocate resources under conditions where markets may fail due to incompleteness or monopoly. He served on the Executive committee of the American Economic Association and as an associate editor for the Journal of Economic Theory.

Walter P. Heller spent most of his childhood in Wisconsin and Minnesota in an academic family. His father, Walter W. Heller, was Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota and Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

Prof. Heller's undergraduate education in mathematics took place at the University of Minnesota, with the guidance of Prof. Leonid Hurwicz. His doctoral study was at Stanford University with the dissertation advice of Nobel Prize winner Kennth J. Arrow. Prof. Heller received his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1970.

A devoted outdoorsman and traveler, Prof. Heller hiked and used his four-wheel drive throughout the Sierra Nevada. He traveled extensively with family throughout Europe. Sabbatic leaves were spent at Berkeley, California and in Oxford, England

He is survived by his wife, Diemut, his son Nicholas, an undergraduate at UCSD, his daughter Marika, a sophomore at Francis Parker School, his brother Eric Heller of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his sister Kaaren Davis of Seattle, Washington.

You are cordially invited to join the Heller family, friends, and the UCSD community for a memorial tribute to Walter P. Heller on Friday, May 18, 2001, at 3:00 P.M. at the Faculty Club, UCSD.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Walter P. Heller Memorial Fund, c/o The UCSD Foundation, 0940, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093.

                                                Marsha A. Chandler
                                                Senior Vice Chancellor