April 14, 2005 • Volume 13 Number 15

Arthur Lewbel, inaugural holder of the Roche Chair in Economics.

Lewbel Named to Newly Created Roche Chair

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

An appreciative alumnus who developed a family-owned grocery business into one of the region's most successful supermarket chains has endowed a chair in the Boston College Economics Department with hopes that the new academic post will inspire similar innovations and accomplishments among the next generation of University-trained scholars.

Patrick Roche '51, Hon. '01, chairman of Roche Brothers Supermarkets, Inc., has established the Roche Chair in Economics. The inaugural holder of the chair will be Prof. Arthur Lewbel.

"It's wonderful what Boston College did for me," said Roche in a recent interview. "We went into business when I got out of BC and we are lucky that we did well. I attribute a lot of it to the training that I got at Boston College. This [chair] may now give somebody else some ideas."

Roche is a graduate of the former College of Business Administration - now Carroll School of Management - who majored in accounting, but took several courses in economics as part of his curriculum. "When [University President] Fr. Leahy sent me an analysis of what Prof. Lewbel has done, I said to myself, 'This guy is super!'"

Lewbel, a recognized expert in the field of econometrics - the use of mathematics and statistics for analyzing economic data - clearly shares Roche's enthusiasm for the University's newest academic chair. "I am thrilled and honored," he said. "It shows how well the department and Boston College in general are doing. I've been here since 1998, and just how much the department and the University have improved in that time is great to see. It's great to be a part of that."

Lewbel says the addition of new academic chairs results in a marked increase in the quality of not only faculty but students who are attracted to Boston College.

"Basically, we have to keep revamping our courses," he said, "because we keep getting better and better students. What a great problem to have!"

The Roche Chair is the second endowed professorship to be established in the economics department in the past year. The William B. Neenan, SJ, Chair is currently held by James Anderson.

"These are exciting times for the department," said Prof. Marvin Kraus, the department chair. "Arthur Lewbel is one of the world's leading econometricians as well as a leader in our department. We are delighted that he has been appointed to the Roche Chair."

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