1973 Alumnus Establishes First Professorship in Economics

Mar 14, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

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  • Rick Inman Jr.

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Rebecca Keane
404-894-1720

This article was originally published by the Georgia Tech Campaign Quarterly. It is reproduced here in full.

Richard B. “Rick” Inman Jr., ECON 1973, has a lofty ambition: to raise the profile of the School of Economics to the national level.

In support of that goal, Inman has made a six-figure commitment establishing the School’s first-ever endowed faculty position: the Mary S. and Richard B. Inman Jr. Professorship. The professorship will allow the School—a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts—to attract and retain an eminent teacher-scholar and thought leader in the discipline of economics.

“What led me to make this commitment,” Inman explained, “was a conversation with Dean [Jacqueline] Royster about the evolution of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and how I could help the School of Economics attract new talent. I also realized the importance of my economics education to my career. I was particularly impressed by the objective of the School’s new chair, David Laband, to improve the School’s status on a national level. I wanted to use the professorship as a way of running a flag up the pole to say, ‘this is a good School and here’s someone who is willing to stand behind it and make a commitment to attract exceptional faculty.’”

Inman is co-founder and managing principal of Atlanta-based Iron Bridge Capital Partners, a private equity and development company that provides investment capital and development expertise for commercial real estate, infrastructure, power generation, and government and educational facilities. Since its founding more than ten years ago, the firm has invested more than $250 million and grown well beyond its southeastern roots, acquiring a power plant in Guam and building schools and low-income housing on the South Pacific island.

The former president of Tucker Federal Bank (acquired by Royal Bank of Canada in 2001), Inman says his Tech education provided a great framework for analyzing a variety of social and business issues.

“The technological orientation of the economics curriculum provides a real competitive edge,” he said. “My education was very quantitative. I went to business school later and breezed through the quantitative courses in comparison to students who had gone through more sociologically focused economics programs.”

This approach to economics is more compelling today than ever before, says School of Economics Chair David N. Laband, who came to Georgia Tech last year from Auburn University.

“Economics is the science of decision making, but good decision making is critical in every aspect of life, not just the business world,” he explained. “Consequently, applications of economics touch us deeply and pervasively. With this more encompassing focus of economics in a liberal arts college, economics as a scientific discipline truly flourishes and contributes vibrantly to our understanding of the full range of human behavior.”

Laband also expressed deep gratitude to Inman for his philanthropy.

“The Inman Professorship is a real milestone for the School of Economics as it is our first and only named professorship,” Laband said. “This professorship is of vital importance to the School because it will help us attract and retain an accomplished scholar to provide long-term leadership with respect to developing our fledgling doctoral program. This is a critical part of our effort to create a nationally prominent economics program at Georgia Tech. We hope that other friends and alumni of Georgia Tech who would like to see us develop a nationally prominent economics program will follow the Inmans’ lead.”

To inquire about making a gift in support of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts or any of its six schools, contact Director of Development Juan A. McGruder at 404.894.1898 or juan.mcgruder@iac.gatech.edu.

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