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Econ prof dies at 73

Aaron Steiner | Thursday, March 26, 2009

Charles Craypo, professor emeritus of economics at Notre Dame, died Sunday, March 22. He was 73. A private memorial service was held on March 24.

Craypo was the former chair of the department of economics and the first director of the Higgins Labor Studies Program on campus.

Current department chair Professor Jennifer Warlick called Craypo’s death “an enormous loss for the department.”

“He was a wonderful role model,” Warlick said. “He walks the talk in terms of working for social justice. In particular he worked very hard for the rights of working people.”

A native of Jackson, Mich., Craypo joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1978 as an associate professor of economics. After leaving to teach at Cornell University in 1982, he returned to Notre Dame in 1984 when he became the department chair.

In 1993, he became the director of the Higgins Labor Studies Program, which supports research, teaching, discussion and publication on political theory of labor and the economy.

Frank Connolly, a professor of mathematics and longtime friend of Craypo’s, said that Craypo “never forgot where he came from.”

“He had a real sense of loyalty to the blue collar people of Michigan that he grew up with, and in his work he tried to work for them,” Connolly said.

“He tried always to remind people at Notre Dame of the needs of ordinary laboring people, as Notre Dame grew wealthier and tended to look in that direction less often,” Connolly said of Craypo’s work.

Former economics department chair Professor Charles Wilber said in a University press release that Craypo did “path-breaking research on labor relations within the context of industrial organization.”

“He was a great mentor to our doctoral students, directing many dissertations and aiding the new graduates to obtain excellent positions in academia, government and labor organizations,” Wilber said.

Craypo most recently taught a one-credit course on Wal-Mart, which Warlick said “lent itself to our curriculum of social justice issues.”

“We will miss having that course very much,” she said.

Craypo served for two years in the Marines before attending Michigan State University where he earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in economics.