My father was not very political, he did though hold strong principles. After he had heart surgery, he followed a very strict exercise regiment and he would sometimes watch or listen to political and policy news. During this period, he became familiar with the ideas of Walter E. Williams, and came to respect Walter's common-sense as well as Walter's intellectual courage. In the spring of 1998 as I was weighing various different professional paths to pursue, including staying put in NJ, or moving to Wisconsin, or coming to GMU. My Dad after listening to me talk about "chaired professor"; "tenure"; etc., simply told me that talk about lifetime job security sounded to him like socialism, and relative status shouldn't be the criterion upon which I base a career decision, and he closed with the simple words above --- "When a Man Like Walter Williams Calls You to Duty, You Report." With that, I made my decision and we moved to Virginia later that summer, and I have never regretted it. It is indeed a great honor to work in this department and to have been hired under Walter Williams chairmanship.
Today is Walter E. Williams (where the E stands for Excellent) 80th Birthday. As I walked into the office this morning I passed him teaching his class in intermediate price theory (7:30am T-Th class) and the students were riveted to his every word. When Walter speaks people listen.
To celebrate his birthday I wanted to share with you the website for the documentary on his life -- Suffer No Fools, which last year played on PBS stations across the US. And here is his author page at Amazon. I read my first Walter Williams book when I was still at Grove City College at the suggestion of my professor Hans Sennholz, and that was The State Against Blacks (1982). Williams is an economic thinker, and his analytical tools are that of a traditional price theorist, and he applies his considerable talents to tackle difficult social issues. He is someone we all need to be reading. And as my Dad recognized, his common-sense and his courage are all to be applauded and followed. I am very fortunate to have received his call, and to have the good sense to listen to my Dad, and report to duty as an economics teacher striving to follow in the tradition of Walter Williams.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Walter.