Walt McMahon is an Emeritus Professor of Economics and of Education at the University of Illinois. He recently edited a special issue of the Journal of Education Finance (May 2021) on the “External Social Benefits of Higher Education”. It includes his paper on their impacts on productivity and on the well-being of individuals and society. Walt’s education was at the London School of Economics, University of Chicago, and University of Iowa where, as an undergraduate, he was President of the University YMCA, and Y Executive Director before serving in the Korean war.
Arriving at Illinois, he first served on the University YMCA Board in 1957 when Fred Miller was Director and was on the Personnel Committee that brought Ed Nestingen. He chaired several Board committees including one that authored a long range plan that was updated in 2012 while he was Board Chair. In the Economics Department he taught micro and macro-economic theory, and a seminar in the Economics of Education and Human Capital. In the Academic Senate, he chaired the Budget, and Library Committees, and the statewide Faculty Advisory Committee to the IBHE. He consulted in 22 countries for the World Bank, USAID, and UNICEF, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Brookings Institution, Erasmus University, the Stockholm Econometrics Institute, Sussex, and LSE. But a major interest has always been the Y and its mission, including its origins in London.