A Retro Evening with Professor Harvey Botwin

FROM HIS OUTRAGEOUS wardrobe and love of cars to his impassioned lectures in economics, Professor Harvey Botwin has become one of Pitzer College's most legendary faculty members. For forty years, Harvey inspired countless students to study economics by transforming a complex subject into one that was accessible and exciting.

A dinner was held recently in Harvey's honor to commemorate his retirement from Pitzer last year. Seventy of Harvey's friends and family, faculty, past students and even three of his own high-school classmates attended the gala event hosted by Ron Burkle and his daughter, Carrie, also a big fan. The gathering was held in the Burkle's guest house, already decorated in a '70s theme with smoky mirrored spaces, sparkly chandeliers and beaded window coverings—all very “Harvey.” Guests drank Harvey Wallbangers and Tequila Sunrises and dined on grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburger sliders and tomato soup, in addition to more current fare.

Alumni, faculty and friends who could not attend the celebration in person sent letters of congratulations and good wishes, which were compiled into a memory book for Harvey. In the words of Tracy McDonald '82, lead donor and founder of the Harvey Botwin Endowment for Economics, “It is no accident that as his students we all love Harvey and feel that our lives have become better because of him. We knew that Harvey loved each of us as his own children, as part of an ever increasing extended family, not for him to possess, but for him to nurture and guide and let go when the time was right.”

Tracy envisioned a way for Harvey's students to honor his legacy and make a difference to future economics students as well. With her lead gift, the College was able to establish the Endowment, which will enhance the senior-year experience for students studying economics.The fund will provide monies for a speaker series, small group discussions and field trips, and an award for the finest thesis. Contributions to the Endowment have reached more than $177,000 toward a $200,000 goal.

One of the many highlights of the evening included an auction of one of Harvey's famous shirts, with proceeds benefiting the Endowment. Plans are underway to make this auction an annual event in conjunction with Alumni Reunion Weekend. Stay tuned—you too could own one of Harvey’s shirts!

For more information on how to make a gift or pledge, please e-mail marilyn_ray@pitzer.edu or call the Office of Advancement at (909) 621-8130.