James S. Worley, professor of economics emeritus at Vanderbilt University, died at his home on Saturday, July 26, following an illness.
For a quarter of a century, from 1963-1988, Worley, 77, directed the Graduate Program in Economic Development (GPED) at Vanderbilt, the oldest such program in the United States designed to train government officials and university teachers from developing countries.
He joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an assistant professor of economics in 1958 after serving on the faculties of Wofford College and Princeton University. He was promoted to associate professor at Vanderbilt in 1962 and to professor in 1967.
As director of the GPED, Worley contributed greatly to the international reputation of the University mentoring more than 900 government officials and university teachers from 92 countries who came to Vanderbilt for a masters degree in economics. As these alumni returned to positions in their home countries or with international organizations, Worley developed an extended global family and word of Vanderbilt spread. The University continues to receive outstanding scholars from developing countries worldwide.
It was during Jim Worleys tenure that the program enjoyed its greatest influx of foreign students. I remember in the 1970s, it was as common to hear Portuguese spoken in the corridors of Calhoun Hall (the building where the program was housed) as it was English, said Andrea Maneschi, Vanderbilt professor of economics who teaches in and has served as acting director of the GPED program.
A feature I always found fascinating about Jim was his perfect recall of past students their names, countries of origin, employment and family. He was a sympathetic friend and father to many of the students who held him in the highest regard and affection -- even many years after graduating, Maneschi said.
Among the programs alumni are Abdallah Bouhabib, former Lebanese ambassador to the United States; Redley Killion, vice president of Micronesia; Saleh Nsouli, deputy director of the IMF Institute at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.; Vice President Pedro Alfredo Pinto of Ecuador; N. Sureyya Serdengecti, governor of the Central Bank of Turkey and Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, an institution started in Bangladesh in 1976 that provided tiny loans to very poor people to allow them to start "micro-businesses." Twenty-five years later, Grameen Bank had 2.4 million borrowers, 94 percent of whom are women, and has loaned more than $3.7 billion in amounts averaging less than $200.
In 1995, members of the Worley family, friends and GPED alumni established the James S. and Rosemary Worley Award to honor him and his wife for their dedication and service to the graduate program, the University and the global community. The $2,000 award is presented annually to an incoming GPED student.
During his tenure at Vanderbilt as director of the GPED, Worley also served as an associate provost from 1968-1971, chair of the Department of Economics and Business Administration from 1971-74 and as an adjunct professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt from 1976-79. He also served on numerous University committees evaluating programs and departments.
Worley was a staff member of the Economics Institute at the University of Colorado and served on the American Economic Associations Policy and Advisory Board of the Economics Institute. He also took part in an evaluation of Vanderbilts Program in Graduate Economics Education in Brazil. He also represented Vanderbilt at an International Development Conference in Yemen, and at the Institute of National Planning in Cairo, Egypt.
Honored with various awards throughout his distinguished career, Worley was elected Phi Beta Kappa and is the recipient of a fellowship from Vanderbilt University, a General Education Board Fellowship, a Sanxay Fellowship from Princeton University and a Danforth Teaching Fellowship. He is listed in Whos Who in America, Whos Who in the South and Southeast and Whos Who in the World, plus other biographical listings at various times. In recognition of his keen interest in students, he won the Chancellors Cup in 1978 for the greatest contribution outside the classroom to student-faculty relations at Vanderbilt University.
Worley made outstanding contributions in the area of community service, serving both Vanderbilt and the community at large.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., Worley received his bachelors and masters degrees from Vanderbilt University in 1949 and 1950. He earned his doctorate from Princeton University in 1959.
A devoted husband and father, Worley is survived by his wife Rosemary, their four children Paul Worley, head of A & R at Warner Bros. Nashville, Marian Worley Watson, Susan Worley Meador and Sam Worley, their spouses and eight grandchildren.
Worley was a lifelong, active member of Belle Meade United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir for 44 years.
A memorial service will be held at Belle Meade United Methodist Church on Thursday, July 31, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be at Belle Meade United Methodist Church on Wednesday, July 30, from 4-7 p.m. and on Thursday, July 31, at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the following:
James S. and Rosemary Worley Fund at Vanderbilt University
VU Station B #357727
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, Tennessee 37235-7727
Belle Meade United Methodist Church Music Fund
Belle Meade United Methodist Church
121 Davidson Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37205