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Gordon C. Winston, 84

December 03, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. Gordon C. Winston, 84, of 4 Windflower Way died Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, in Florida, where he had been vacationing with family.

He was the Orrin Sage Professor of Political Economy, emeritus, and former chairman of the Economics Department and provost at Williams College. He also directed the Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education.

Born in San Francisco in 1929, son of Chester Parker and Lois Warner Winston, he graduated from high school in Spokane, Wash., and, in 1950, from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., with a degree in English. He earned his master's degree in English from the University of Washington and, in 1964, his doctorate in economics from Stanford University.

An Army veteran, he enlisted for two years during the Korean War.

Professor Winston spent his entire academic career at Williams College, being appointed to the Economics Department after completing his Ph.D. He held numerous prestigious positions during his time at Williams, including appointments at Nuffield College, Oxford University; Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tulane University; visiting scholar at the Institute for International Economic Studies at the University of Stockholm, and member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

He had first worked for a number of years at International Paper Co.

In the course of his distinguished career, he served with the Ford Foundation in Karachi, Pakistan, at the Pakistan Institute for Development Economics, advising the government on economic development policies and training Pakistani economists. He returned to Pakistan as an economic adviser in 1969 and later served in that capacity in East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) and Nigeria.

His intellectual interests were wide ranging, spanning economic development, capital and production theory, consumption theory, and finally the economics of higher education. It is in the last of these fields that professor Winston had the biggest impact. During his tenure as provost, he developed innovative approaches for understanding the sources and uses of financial resources in higher-education institutions. He is credited with shaping much of the work in the economics of higher education over recent decades, particularly by developing tools that helpfully clarified the differences among the many varied institutions that make up American higher education and, importantly, differences in the rate at which children from different socioeconomic backgrounds attend college.

All of this work focused on bringing greater justice to the nation's higher education system, and his many op-ed pieces and frequent appearances in the media are known to have affected policy debates. He was deeply committed to the idea that all high-achieving students should have the opportunity to develop their abilities to the fullest, regardless of their family background.

Professor Winston had a multitude of interests beyond academe, including motorcycling, sailing and power boating. His love of the water took him from the San Juan Islands to Long Island Sound to Captiva Island in Florida. He delighted in conversation with friends and colleagues and, most of all, cherished time spent with family.

His first marriage, to the former Mary Wales, ended in divorce.

He leaves his beloved wife, Mary Winston, whom he married in 1980; cherished children and stepchildren, Victoria Winston and her husband, Howard Schultz, Parker Winston and his wife, Allison Bazin, Pamela Winston and her husband, Leonard Bailey, Tracy Chipman and her husband,Paul Chipman, and Stephanie Lamb; his sister, Marjory Parker, and eight grandchildren, Alexander, Benjamin, and Carter Schultz, Annabelle Winston, Gabriel Bailey, Renzie and Molly Chipman, and Maggie MacCallum.

FUNERAL NOTICE A celebration of Mr. Winston's life will be held in the spring.

Donations in his name may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union and Compassion and Choices.
Arrangements by Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals.


Recollections & Sympathy For the Family
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