Remembering Professor Harvey Botwin

From Interim President Thomas Poon
November 16, 2015

Dear Pitzer College Community,

harvey_botwin-webIt is with a very heavy heart that I share with you the news of Professor Emeritus of Economics Harvey Botwin’s passing. Harvey joined Pitzer in 1967 as the first economics faculty member—and the only one for his first four years at the College. He shaped the study of economics at Pitzer from the day he walked on campus and long past his retirement in 2007. His classes included Contemporary Economic Issues, The Stock Market and History of Economic Thought.

Although he was once the College’s only economics professor and proudly quoted from John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Harvey was a professor who couldn’t be pigeonholed. “I consider myself to be a ‘radical eclectic,’ that is, I truly believe in eclecticism,” Botwin wrote for the Pitzer College Archives Books That Matter project. “When a student would tell me, ‘I can’t tell what you are,’ I silently regarded it as a compliment.”

During his tenure, Harvey made a significant impact on the Pitzer community. “It is no accident that, as his students, we all love Harvey and feel that our lives have become better because of him,” Tracy Tindle ’82 said in a 2008 Participant article. Tracy also created the Harvey Botwin Endowment for Harvey_Botwin-1980_webEconomics in his honor in 2007. Interim Dean of Faculty Nigel Boyle commented that Harvey’s eclecticism ranged from his penchant for colorful—some called them “outrageous”—shirts to his passion for fine cars. Along with micro- and macroeconomics, Harvey co-taught—with Professor Emeritus of Sociology Rudi Volti—a course called “Cars and Culture.” He once owned an Alfa Romeo rumored to have been driven by Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate—not true, although it was the same model of the car in the film. Other fun rumors circulated as well, including one that he did not receive a salary from the College but taught for the pure love of it. Not true, but because of it he joked that he if he ever wrote a memoir he would title it “I Did It for the Money.”

Harvey is survived by his loving wife Harriet, his son, Al, his daughter, Michele ’92, and his grandchildren, Mirabel and Leonardo. A memorial service will be held Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 11 a.m. at Temple Beth Israel, 3033 N Towne Avenue in Pomona, and the community is welcome to attend. A reception will be held at a later date, and information will be shared with the community once it has been set.

I know you share with me condolences for and support of Professor Emeritus Harvey Botwin’s family and friends during this time. Anyone wishing to send a personal message to the family may do so by emailing Michele at [email protected]. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the Harvey Botwin Endowment for Economics in his honor.


Thomas Poon
Interim President

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