Robert A. Becker
Professor, Indiana University
I met Wick at the Allied Social Sciences meetings in December 1975. He chaired the department and led the interview process. I heard back from him around the beginning of February and visited IU a couple of weeks later. He met me at the Bloomington airport on a snowy evening. Somehow the campus visit went well and I received an offer a couple of weeks later. I remain grateful for that offer. Academic positions were scarce then as the economy was slowly recovering from the 1973-74 oil price shocks.
Wick was an outstanding department chair. We had many discussions in his office about the department, its faculty, research interests, and performance expectations. He was always open for debating colleagues on a matter of scholarly or administrative importance. He appreciated a good argument! He also had the ability to see the sometimes humorous side of the academy.
He was an important figure in the department's development of microeconomic theory as he supplied the energy to hire people, worked the funding angle with the deans, and helped smooth over the internal politics of the day.
I learned more about his research when I joined the advanced Money seminar. It was a directed readings group that met once a week. I was impressed by Wick's leadership and his capacity to raise challenging questions and press students and faculty colleagues alike on the interpretations and critiques of our reading project (a book on monetary theory). Wick was also supportive of a nascent theory workshop and assisted with funds from a very limited speaker series budget that allowed me to continue leveraging some external speaker support that expired a couple of years later.
Wick remained professionally active in the Economic History Workshop following his retirement. He wrote more books then too. His influence in that field continued throughout his retirement. Mostly, I recall his encouragement and insights into how the university and profession functions. I often thought of lessons I learned from those conversations in later years when I undertook various administrative assignments. Wick was a real leader. He was a serious scholar whose impact on understanding banking panics and financial crises remains important.