Walter C. Labys, who has been on the WVU faculty since 1975, was honored April 2001, at a special 35th Anniversary celebration for WVU’s Regional Research Institute, with the “Miernyk Award for Career Scholarly Achievement,” 2000. This award was established in honor of Professor William H. Miernyk, the Director of the Institute from its establishment in 1965 until his retirement in 1983. It recognizes individuals whose careers have been marked by sustained scholarly productivity, dedication to students, service to scholarly organizations, and an enduring commitment to the Regional Research Institute and West Virginia University. Like Dr. Miernyk, Professor Labys’ distinguished career at WVU has been dedicated to these ideals.
Speakers for the event included Professors William Miernyk who presented the award, Peter Schaeffer, Division Director of Resource Management, and Ronald L. Lewis, Interim Director of the Regional Research Institute who also presented Labys with a travel honorarium from the Institute. Attending this special event were faculty research associates of the Regional Research Institute, former students, colleagues, such as Jean-Baptiste Lesourd of France, J. Hiliary Kelley, former dean of Comer, and numerous friends and family members.
Walter C. Labys is Benedum Distinguished Scholar, Professor of Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, and Adjunct Professor of Economics in the College of Business and Economics. He also holds the position of Gunnar Myrdal Scholar from the UN Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. He earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1959, a M.B.A. from Duquesne University in 1962, a M.A. in economics from Harvard University in 1965 and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Nottingham in 1968.
He is a graduate of the Preparatory School at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe. He served as Economic Affairs Officer with the United Nations in Geneva from 1969 to 1971 and as a Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies of the University of Geneva from 1971 to 1975. He was appointed at West Virginia University in 1975 to help found the Ph.D. Program in resource economics; in 1990 he was given the University’s highest academic award, Benedum Distinguished Scholar and in 1998 was named Outstanding Researcher. During 1981-82, he was a Visiting Scholar in the Energy Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Faculty Research Associate with the Regional Research Institute, and served as founding President of the WVU “Faculty Club.”
Over the past thirty-two years, Dr. Labys has pioneered in the development and application of econometric methods important for analyzing commodity price behavior, the building of structural commodity models, and the impact of commodity markets on the stability and growth of surrounding developing economies. His numerous books and articles have been of particular interest not only to other economists but also to industry and government planners at national and international levels.
Throughout his career, Dr. Labys has taken a strong interest in the relationship of his research to international policy making. He was honored as the first Gunnar Myrdal Scholar by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. He has served as research Fellow at the World Institute for Development Economics Research (The United Nations University) in Helsinki. He also has been a visitor at the following universities: the Faculty of Economics and GREQAM at the University of Aix-Marseille; the Department of Applied Economics at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna; the Center for Industrial Econometrics at the University of Montpellier in France; the Research Center for World Commodity Markets at CNAM-Paris; he Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow; the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna; the Institute for International Economics in Stockholm; and the London School of Economics in England. He has acted as a consultant or research advisor to several international organizations and has visited more than 80 nations. He has worked with the U.S. Information Agency, the U.S. Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Dr. Labys has authored or collaborated on 15 books, more than 120 research articles and chapters, and has presented more than 130 invited addresses, colloquia and papers. In January of 2000 he delivered the millennium lecture at the Center for Economic and Policy Research at St. Vincent College. He has directed more than 40 masters and doctoral theses. Selected studies have been translated and published in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Polish, and Russian. He has two children, Paul and Lottie by his late wife, Jane Reardon Labys. Walt married Kathy Lohmann, who retired as English teacher at Morgantown High School.