Theodore Schultz (1902-1998) developed the founding theories of human capital that have been cited by economists worldwide. He was the 1979 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics and the only SDSU alumnus recognized among the first century of Nobel laureates.
Schultz was raised on a farm near Badger, South Dakota. He began his college career in 1924 and finished his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in just three years. Following this, Schultz completed his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin and was hired into the economics faculty at Iowa State University.
Later, Schultz served as economics department head at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1961. During this time, Schultz presided over one of the most prestigious programs in the nation. Schultz hired and nurtured several emerging scholars, taught regularly and continued his research in agricultural economics. The Schultz-led department at Chicago produced more Nobel laureates in economics than any other university. A particularly productive scholar, he maintained an office at the University of Chicago into his late 80s and continued writing into his early 90s.
The annual Schultz-Werth Award for undergraduate scholarly achievement honors Schultz and his wife, Ester (Werth), a 1927 alumna in commercial sciences.
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