The afternoon was brilliantly sunny, and the shadows of the Faculty Glade were cool and intimate as UC Berkeley celebrated the Nobel Prize in economics awarded this week to David Card, a pioneering labor economist and popular teacher and adviser.
Reflecting Card’s own manner, the Wednesday late-afternoon affair was understated. But students, faculty, staff and top campus leaders offered an abundance of heartfelt admiration and affection for their teacher and colleague, who was announced as the latest UC Berkeley Nobel laureate in the early morning hours on Monday.
Roberto Hsu Rocha, a fourth-year PhD candidate focused on labor economics, was thrilled for his adviser - but also still trying to digest the magnitude of the event.
"Suddenly, this professor who I was talking to last week, and having coffee with him, and talking about research - he got the Nobel Prize!” Rocha said. "I’m still a little amazed... It means a lot for me personally - I feel so privileged to be here and to be able to talk to these professors, and David in particular. He puts so much into teaching.”
Ann E. Harrison is the dean of Haas School of Business, but earlier in her career, she too was studying economics with Card - and on Wednesday afternoon, she was stoked.
"I want to tell everybody: David Card was my adviser!” Harrison said, over rising applause. She asked others to raise their hands if Card had been their adviser, then said: "Wasn’t he the most incredible adviser you’ve ever had? "I mean, all of us at 5:30 in the morning on Monday, we felt like we won the Nobel Prize. We are so thrilled, David! I cannot imagine a better, more brilliant individual!” Card, addressing the admiring audience, turned the spotlight away from himself.
"I really want to emphasize that my success is mostly of a reflection of all the help and input I’ve gotten from my teachers, my coauthors, and my students, especially. They have been a source of inspiration, and I’m so glad that many are still here, several of them on the faculty.
"I really appreciate all the support we’ve received over the years,” he closed. "We’re situated to be a good force in labor economics in the long-term future.”