Lacy H. Hunt

The prospect of a Wharton School M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania attracted Lacy Hunt to Philadelphia from his native Texas. A full-ride fellowship from Temple University encouraged him to stay and earn a Ph.D. in economics.

Penn and Temple taught him well — a good thing for the Owls, because Hunt has the awesome responsibility of managing about $680 million for the University.

Hunt oversees several of Temple’s accounts pro bono as executive vice president of the Austin, Texas-based firm Hoisington Investment Management Co., which manages $3.5 billion in pensions, endowments, insurance and other accounts. Formerly the chief U.S. economist for one of the world’s largest banks, Hunt is the author of path-blazing books and academic papers and has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other publications. The national and foreign press and television news programs have sought his opinion on global economics.

The Temple Times sought his opinion on the University’s future. In one word, he’s bullish.

“The University has a lot to offer,” said Hunt, who has been a trustee since 1987. “I studied under some pretty good people who taught me the importance of writing, even in a quantitative field, and who were ahead of their time in stressing the importance of the global economy. When I was a doctoral student in the late 1960s, the U.S. was largely an insular economy with a few links to the rest of the world. But my professors suggested to me that rather than just concentrating on monetary policy, I should give equal emphasis to studying international economics. That lesson has stayed with me ever since.”

He stays in touch with one of those professors — The Fox School’s Ingrid Rima, who was chairwoman of the economics department in his days at Temple — visiting her when he comes to campus as a distinguished lecturer or for trustee meetings, or to visit his son, Lacy Harris Hunt III, a Fox School graduate student in bio-statistics. And he likes the changes he sees on campus, particularly the improved facilities; the increasing number of students coming from throughout Pennsylvania, across the country and around the world; and the growing number of residential students.

“My aspiration is to have at least 50 percent of our students living on or near the campus,” Hunt said. “Residential students benefit from more interactions with the University, and they develop an affinity for Temple that lasts well beyond graduation.”

The economist in him is excited that the “tremendous improvements” Temple made to its campus have generated private-sector investment in retail outlets and student-oriented housing. But this economist also is realistic about the ongoing financial constraints facing the University, including reductions in state funding and the need to keep tuition levels affordable.

“The key financial challenge is that we simply do not get as much in the way of giving from alumni as we should,” he said. “But we’re working hard on that, and we are beginning to make significant progress.”

An avid tennis player until a severe ankle injury sidelined him last year, Hunt tutored student-athletes to supplement his doctoral fellowship at Temple. Once he recovers from his injury, “I’d love to play doubles with coach John Chaney,” he said.

-By Mark Eyerly

2004 Temple Times