Letter to the Editor:The economics department is diverse enough

In response to “Where do Austrian economics fit in a Jesuit education?” from the Sept. 30 issue o

Dear editor,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am twice an alumnus of Loyola, A ’06 and MBA ’08. I effectively completed both an economics and a business minor during my undergraduate enrollment in preparation for my enrollment in the MBA degree. Upon completion of that degree in 2008 I was awarded both the top College of Business honor, the G. Ralph Smith Award for Outstanding Graduate Student, and the top University honor, the Ignatian Award for Outstanding Graduate Student. The Ignatian Award is given annually to three students who, among other things, display “high regard for Ignatian, Jesuit values and contributions to the advancement of religion and citizenship.”

So much for my qualifications; allow me now to comment from this position.

In my six years and nearly 60 courses taken as a student at Loyola, the only courses I ever took that broached the subjects of the nature and causes of social inequality, the means for true assistance rather than mere acknowledgement of the oppressed, and the relationship of God and religion to the everyday world of our daily work as soldiers and servants of Christ were courses on international macroeconomic policy and the free market process, taught by William Barnett of the economics department.

In these classes I learned the characteristics of not just Austrian economics, but also Classical, Keynesian, Neoclassical, Post-Keynesian, Supply Side and Monetarist theories. I have no better nor clearer memory of what “magis,” “cura personalis,” or “ad majorem Dei gloriam” mean to the education of a student in the Jesuit tradition than my experience in these courses. As a student at this university, I experienced the ridicule of my religious beliefs (I am a staunch Calvinist), professors who didn’t even care to learn my name (it’s not “Nick”), and a general lack of rigor (evidenced by the overabundance of courses in which I earned an A), but the silver lining was the intensity, magnanimity and diversity that characterizes the programs of study in, courses offered by and faculty of the economics department.

I am a better and a more well-rounded person because of that economics education.

It seems a shame to limit the extent to which Loyola can help others become the same.


Nate Straight

College of Business Assessment Coordinator