Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Windber, Somerset County
Slesinger taught economics at the University of Pittsburgh for more than 60 years. During that time he published several books, including Economics: Principles.
A scholar and professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh for over sixty years, Reuben Slesinger was born in Windber in 1916. He spent his entire professional life teaching economics at the University of Pittsburgh, writing textbooks and journal articles. Slesinger passed away in 2000.
Economist Reuben Slesinger was born on February 12, 1916 in Windber and was the son of Isaac and Sallie Slesinger. Following his secondary education, Slesinger earned a series of degrees at the University of Pittsburgh: a B.S. in 1936, an M.A. in 1938, and a Ph.D. in 1940. After earning his Ph.D., Slesinger was hired by the University of Pittsburgh, beginning a sixty year relationship with the institution. Before his teaching could begin, however, he was called to military service, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. He would remain in the Army Reserves for fifteen years. During his time in the Army, he was given the Legion of Merit for his service. Slesinger returned from military service and married Natalie Friedman in 1950. They had three children together.
After the war, Slesinger resumed his academic career at the University of Pittsburgh. During his career, most of Slesinger's writing was academic in nature. He wrote several editions of Economic Way of Thinking, as well as publishing in journals such as the Journal of the American Bar Association,The European Journal of Economics, and the Pittsburgh Law Journal, amongst many others. He also did consulting work for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Power Commission and other organizations. The National Association of Forensic Economists gave him an award for distinguished service to that field.
In addition to being a prolific author, Slesinger was regarded as a consummate teacher by his students and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh. As for Pitt Economics department chair Frank Giarratani said “More than any other faculty member that I have ever known, Reuben Slesinger was beloved by his students” (University Times). Other comments from faculty in the University of Pittsburgh's memoriam to Slesinger concur. Though Slesinger retired in 1986, he continued teaching regularly at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as occasional courses at Point Park College, Duquesne University, and the Pittsburgh Law School. He also offered regular programs for the clergy on economics and public policy through the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. This particular activity earned him the Olin Davis Award for Distinguished Service in Economic Education for the Clergy.
Reuben Slesinger died from a heart attack in Pittsburgh on October 30, 2000. Following his death, Slesinger's family established a fund in his honor at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The economics department at the University of Pittsburgh maintains a Slesinger Fund used to recruit and to assist graduate students in their study of economics.
Readings in Economics. Hinsdale, IL: Dryden, 1951.
Economics: Principles. New York: Macmillan, 1953.
Government and Business. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1958.