Professor Emeritus Whitin Dies at Age 90

Thomson Whitin, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Science, Emeritus, died Dec. 9 at the age of 90.

Whitin had already achieved distinction when he joined the Wesleyan faculty as a professor of economics in 1963. He graduated from Princeton University in 1943 and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the aircraft carrier the Bonhomme Richard. Having obtained a doctorate in economics from Princeton University, and teaching there until 1952, he joined the faculty of M.I.T. as an assistant professor. While on leave from M.I.T. from 1956–58, he served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; subsequently he rejoined the M.I.T. faculty 1958-60 before joining the University of California, Berkeley, as a full professor in 1960. During his long tenure at Wesleyan, he twice served as a visiting professor of administrative science at Yale University and received fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation. He retired in 1993.

The author of two books, The Theory of Inventory Management (Princeton University Press, 1953) and Analysis of Inventory Systems co-authored with George Hadley (Prentice-Hall, 1963), Whitin also published dozens of scholarly papers and reviews. He served as a consultant to numerous organizations, including the RAND Corporation, Stanford Research Institute, and the U.S. Navy.

The Economics Department will be offering the inaugural Barber/Whitin Prize this spring for the best undergraduate paper in economic theory or institutional economics.

Whitin was an avid tennis player; he could be found frequently on the Wesleyan courts holding his own with the some of the best tennis players on campus. He served as an advocate for the mentally ill through his association with the Connecticut chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Connecticut). Whitin was predeceased by his wife, Edith Osborn Sherer, and is survived by four children: Charles, Sonia, Holly, Richard; and three grandchildren, Emilie, Aya and Sophia.