Laudatory speech for Prof. Bergstrand

In 1676 Sir Isaac Newton coined the expression: “standing on the shoulders of giants”, which is still used by Google scholar as its motto. There’s not a more appropriate aphorism to describe Dr. Bergstrand: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” For several reasons, and not the obvious one related to his height (although Nobel laureate Angus Deaton might disagree).

First, Prof. Bergstrand stands on the shoulders of gigantic giants like Robert Baldwin and André Sapir. His great- gran mentors include names like Paul Samuelson, Ludwig von Mises and John Maynard Keynes.

Second, Prof. Bergstrand has devoted most of his academic career to Newtonian economics. He has been “married” to the gravity equation nearly as long as to his wife: 39 years.  In doing so, he has set the theoretical and empirical foundations, along with other giants, of the gravity equation of trade.

Third, Prof. Bergstrand is an academic giant in at least three ways. The scientific community has been lucky to read in the major journals his insights on international trade flows, economic integration agreements, foreign direct investment, and multinational firms, which have led to a better understanding of international economics. His work has escaped the golden walls of universities and have shape today’s trade policy. He worked with the European Commission between 2007-2009 on the initial economic analyses on the TTIP. He was one of the 15 experts selected to advise the Council of Economic Advisors and the US Trade Representative’s Office on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement at the White House in May and September 2016.

The teaching dimension of success academics is frequently shadowed by their research accomplishment, which in the case of Dr. Bergstrand’s is immense. His work has been cited more 12,000 times, and his 30 most cited papers have cited more than 30 citations. This is not the case of Dr. Bergstrand who is also chalk giant. Three days ago, some of us had the opportunity to attend his course in international economics. Although he made us sweat in some exercises, we discovered an excellent teacher, as you will shortly appreciate. I’m convinced that he has left a print in most of the 10,000 students who have attended his lectures in the University of Notre Dame.

Fourth, Prof. Bergstrand is a communication giant. He’s been only four days in Valencia and he’s all over the news. If you search him in google news, you can read about his thoughts in local newspapers like Las Provincias, La Vanguardia, Valencia Plaza and international media like CNN and much more which we cannot find about because google news is banned in Spain.

Last but not least, Dr. Bergstrand is smiling giant. After google scholar, google news, please try google images. You won’t find a single photo we’re he is not smiling. Aside from this cross-sectional evidence, I’ve always seen him smiling, when not laughing. This denotes a positive, charming and generous giant. Evidence to support this hypothesis is found hidden in page 20 of his CV (20!) we can read about his community service. It is really astonishing that he has had the time to serve as Elder and Church Council President, Council Vice-President, Financial Secretary and member of the Investment Committee and Financial Committee.

If we are to see further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants like Jeff.

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