Besedes, Dhongde, and Li Receive Mary S. and Richard B. Inman, Jr. Professorship and Faculty Excellence Awards

Tibor Besedes, Shatakshee Dhongde, and Haizheng Li

Posted September 1, 2021

The School of Economics is pleased to name Professor Tibor Besedes the next Mary S. and Richard B. Inman, Jr. Professor of Economics. In addition, Professor Haizheng Li and Associate Professor Shatakshee Dhongde are the inaugural recipients of the Mary S. and Richard B. Inman, Jr. Faculty Excellence Awards. 

The Inman Professorship, established in 2013, is awarded to outstanding scholars in the School of Economics to support their ongoing and future research, academic leadership, and professional development. Faculty hold the Professorship for a period of three years and are selected by the School Chair in consultation with a faculty evaluation committee and approval by the Dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.  

New this year are the Inman Faculty Excellence Awards, which are awarded alongside the Professorship for the first time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the School. Like the Professorship, the funds are given for three-year terms to support research, academic leadership, and professional development for the recipients.   


Tibor Besedes    

"It is a great honor to be named the holder of the Inman Professorship," said Besedes. "I view it as a recognition of my achievements so far, and a motivation to continue working hard on my scholarship, both in research and teaching. I will work hard to live up to the expectations of the professorship."     

Besedes plans to use the funds for professional development — attending conferences, conducting economic experiments, and bolstering his role as the Director of the Forum for Research in Empirical International Trade (FREIT) — as well as to support his graduate students with data purchases, conference travel, and funding to conduct experiments. Encouraging and inspiring his students is something Besedes has been passionate about since joining the faculty in 2007.     

"Dr. Besedes is an amazing mentor, who guided me through all aspects of my Ph.D. study,” said Tongyang Yang, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Economics. "He is always kind and patient and is always there to support me through challenging times. Now I'm about to graduate, and I would say that I'm so lucky to have Dr. Besedes as my co-advisor. I would not be where I am without his mentorship."   


Shatakshee Dhongde and Haizheng Li   

Dhongde and Li also plan to support students and further their research with the award funds.   

"I am very pleased and honored to receive the Inman Award," said Li. "The fund will be critically valuable in allowing me to spend more time on research, to guide students, and help them produce publications. It will also support my travel to conferences and collaborations with other scholars."   

Dhongde plans to use the award to organize a workshop or conference on campus, visit universities to give seminars about her work, and present papers at national and international conferences. "I'm incredibly grateful for the gift funding the award," said Dhongde, recognizing the Inman family for their generosity as well as School Chair Laura Taylor and Dean Kaye Husbands Fealing for spreading the funds among three recipients for maximum impact.   


Making a Difference for the Next Generation   

The generous gift comes from Mary and Richard Inman, Jr.    

"Giving back to the School of Economics is important to me, because I feel like my contributions can make a significant difference to the School and really move the needle," said Richard Inman, Jr., who graduated with a BS in Economics in 1973. He went on to get an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and found Ironwood VII, of which he is currently the managing principal.   

Inman has remained active in the Georgia Tech community and was honored with the Dean's Appreciation Award at the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards for his many contributions to the College. He hopes his gift will help the School continue its legacy of success and motivate the faculty to grow and develop both in their research and teaching.    

"I personally feel that economics provides a useful lens to view the world and an effective framework to make decisions," said Inman. "It's important for every engineer or scientist that graduates to have a fundamental understanding of the principles of economics, so it's important that the School of Economics continue to improve to keep up with Georgia Tech's other highly rated disciplines. I hope my investments will be an example for others and show that the School is on the move."   

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