Office of Public Affairs
Columbia University
New York, N.Y.   10027
(212) 854-5573

Virgil Renzulli, Associate Vice President
Suzanne Trimel
October 11, 1996

STATEMENT TO THE MEDIA (Death of William Vickrey)

Professor Emeritus William Vickrey of Columbia University, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics Tuesday, collapsed Thursday night (October 10) while traveling to an academic conference and was pronounced dead early today, according to Westchester County (N.Y.) Police.

Professor Vickrey, 82, a resident of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., was found unconscious and slumped over the wheel of his car by a passing motorist on the Hutchinson Parkway in Harrison, N.Y., near the Connecticut border shortly before midnight. Medical personnel tried to revive him as he was taken by ambulance to St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, N.Y. He was pronounced dead at 12:43 A.M., according to police.

Columbia President George Rupp said: "Professor William Vickrey has been an inspiration to students and faculty at Columbia University for more than 60 years both because of the brilliance of his extraordinarily active mind and because of his deep concern for other human beings. Those of us who knew Bill Vickrey and those who met him for the first time this week celebrated the recognition that the Nobel Prize brought him and now we join together to mourn his death.

"When asked the significance of becoming a Nobel laureate, Bill Vickrey characteristically answered that it would give his ideas a better hearing. It is our hope that the work of this dedicated and important scholar will continue to be given the worldwide attention it attracted this week."

Professor Vickrey, who taught at Columbia for nearly 60 years, was traveling to Boston to attend a two-day TRED (Taxation, Resources, Economics and Development) Conference at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a non-profit institution. Professor Vickrey was a founder of the TRED Conference.

Professor Vickrey, who was the McVickar Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Columbia, retired from teaching in 1982. He won the Nobel Prize for his work on informational asymmetries, which addresses situations where decision-makers have different information. During his career he concentrated on solutions to many practical problems in public transportation and highway and utility use.

Arrangements for his funeral are incomplete. Professor Vickrey's wife of 45 years, Cecile Vickrey, has asked that the news media contact the Office of Public Affairs at Columbia for further information.