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Bob Pritchard – dear colleague and beloved professor

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

It is with deep sadness that I share the news that our faculty colleague Robert Pritchard, Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Economics in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, passed away on May 16.

Bob was a much-loved teacher of economics. He brought boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm into his classrooms, and touched the lives of thousands of students during the 15 years he taught at Northeastern. Bob continued teaching even as he fought lung cancer in recent months. He showed grace and courage in confronting the discouraging progression of his illness, maintaining concern for his family, students and colleagues throughout.

Bob earned a Ph.D. in Law, Policy and Society from Northeastern. His dissertation title, “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Policy: Reducing Fatalities with Increased Financial  Responsibility,” and the composition of his dissertation committee, Economics Professor Steven Morrision (chair), Political Science Distinguished Professor Michael Dukakis, and Thomas Corsi, Professor of Logistics at the University of Maryland, give some sense of Bob’s eclectic and interdisciplinary approach to economic and policy issues. Bob’s career spanned the worlds of teaching, research and policy. Among his non-academic positions was a stint as a Transportation Industry Analyst at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Center, his work as the Executive Director of the Northeast Transportation Institute, and his service as the Director of Research for the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation of Boston. He was also an independent consultant on business development and operational analysis for transportation and technology firms; medical and education institutions (including the Longwood Medical and Academic planning organization—MASCO); Washington, D.C.-based trade associations (notably, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce); and private-sector firms.

Bob’s true vocation was the teaching of economics, an activity which he loved and excelled at. He was a mainstay of the Economics Department, and over the years also taught in Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, in the D’Amore-McKim College of Business, and in the Master’s in Public Administration program. In his Principles of Microeconomics course, his ability to make introductory economics relevant to student’s lives drew many students into the further study of economics. He was an innovator in online education, and a mentor to his students and graduate teaching assistants.

Members of the Economics Department, and the broader Northeastern community, will miss Bob’s energy and enthusiasm, his congenial presence and good humor, and his signature farewell when leaving the department office: “Rock on!”

Bob’s two children, Tess and Jack, are Northeastern graduates, and his love and pride for them and his wife, Julie, was always evident. Our sympathies go to them and to Bob’s extended family, friends, students and colleagues.

The Department of Economics and the college plan to hold a celebration of Bob Pritchard’s life on campus in the fall semester.

Friends are invited to the Chapel Meeting House located on Mill Street in the Foxboro State Forest, one of Bob’s favorite places to run, for visiting hours on Tuesday, May 21 at 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m. A celebration of his life will be held Wednesday, May 22 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, South Street, Foxboro, followed by burial service at the Rock Hill Cemetery, Foxboro. For additional information, please contact Roberts and Sons Funeral Home at 508-543-5471. To send an online condolence, please visit the funeral home site here.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bob’s memory to the Progeria Research Foundation, P.O. Box 3453, Peabody, MA 01961 or The Dimock Center, Development Office, 55 Dimock Street, Roxbury, MA 02119.

Students may contact University Health and Counseling Services located on Forsyth Street, or by calling 617.373.2772. Student support is also available from the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service at 617.373.2728 and from the We Care team in Student Affairs at 617.373.4384 or wecare@northeastern.edu.

Faculty and staff may contact the Employee Assistance Program, available 24 hours a day, at 877.739.3989 or register for online services here.

With Sympathy,


Uta Poiger
Dean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Published On: May 21, 2019 |
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