Ken Lay chair filled

An MU economics professor was appointed as the first to occupy it.
Amy Oslica / Graphic Designer

MU economics professor Joseph Haslag has been appointed as the first Kenneth L. Lay Chair of Economics, the College of Arts and Science announced Monday.

In an MU news release, College of Arts and Science Dean Michael O’Brien said Haslag is a “world class economist.”

“In the past, he has been a wonderful ambassador for MU and the college, helping us communicate our message about how MU impacts the state economically,” O’Brien said in the release. “He works on national and international research topics, but he also works for the state of Missouri.”

Before Haslag’s appointment to the chair, the position had been vacant since its creation in 1999. The chair’s namesake, former Enron CEO and MU graduate Kenneth Lay, gave $1.1 million to MU for the creation of the position.

Lay was indicted for conspiracy and fraud in 2004 and was charged with six counts of conspiracy and fraud and four counts of bank fraud in May 2006 after trading scandals involving the Enron Corporation were revealed. He was scheduled for sentencing in October of that year, but he died in July while vacationing with his family.

Lay asked MU to return the money for the endowment to him in September 2005, but MU denied his request.

In a previous report, O’Brien said MU is not permitted to change the name of the position. He said once an endowed seat has been established; the name can only be changed at the donor’s behest.

Since his death, charges against Lay were officially dropped.

In the release, Haslag said he is “honored” to be appointed to the position.

“I want to continue to produce the best economic research that I can and transfer that knowledge to the students who are attending MU,” Haslag said.

Haslag has been a member of the MU faculty since 2000. He also received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MU in 1982 and 1984 respectively.

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