Harold Vatter Award

Harold Vatter grew up in New Jersey and graduated from high school during the depression. His father was an accountant and funds were not available for college until a couple years later when a family member passed away. Vatter received his BA in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1936.

Professor John Walker, a close associate of Harold Vatter who co-authored many publications with him, recounts that Vatter was an idealistic graduate and wanted to join the Abe Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War to fight fascism. The Abe Lincoln Brigade was an American arm of the International Brigade who were fighting for a republican government against the fascist General Franco. The young brave soldiers in the brigade were not known for returning home alive. Needless to say, Vatter's family was alarmed at his ambitions. They offered to send him to Columbia University if he stayed home. Education won out, and Vatter graduated with an MA in Economics two years later.

While attending the University of California, Berkeley, Vatter's Ph.D. was interrupted to go to war. He was one of two Ph.D. candidates from Berkeley to finish exams before being shipped off. Walker explains that an army training sergeant was protective of valuable human capital and put Vatter to work typing documents. Vatter returned to Berkeley after the war to write his dissertation and complete his education in 1950.

Vatter taught at several Universities, including University of Chicago, before coming to Portland State University in 1965. He taught at PSU until retirement and passed away in 2000 at the age of 89. According to Professor Walker, Vatter was a pioneer of New Economic History. By integrating economic theory with history, Vatter achieved a level of thinking on par with the greats. A simple internet search will reveal Vatter's numerous publications, many of which can be found in the PSU Millar Library, among others. Although Vatter was not famous, he was friendly and collegial with Nobel Prize winners Douglass North and Robert Fogel.


2019 Award Winner Dante S. Dainton Piacente 

Harold Goodhue Vatter Award Archives
PSU Economics Department
2018 Caleb Staats
2017 Samantha Oliszewski
2016 Elise Breshears, Emily Pitkin
Emma Willingham, Joe Mitchell-Nelson
2014 Maggie Lahet
2013 Corey Heinz
2012 Caleb Scoville
2011 Andres Guzman
2010 Sylvia Tanner
2009 Laura Cardwell 
2008 Shannon Burfield
2007 Amanda Monaghan
2006 Brandon Unti
2005 Devon Mitchell
2004 Jonathan Ramirez
2003 Joy A. Hall, Adam Hall
2002 Han Soderberg
2001 Jake Otnes
2000 Jeremy Johnson
1999 Joseph Marinucci
1998 Jacob S. Gill
1997 Shani Chambers,
Diane Malowney
1996 Lori A. Miller,
Vuthy Tan
1995 Todd D. Arola
1994 Robert Kirchner
1993 Nancy Hunsaker
1992 Ron Shachar
1991 Linda Hamilton