Anita Arrow Summers, Leading Authority on Urban Economic Development and Educational Efficiency, Passes Away

Anita Arrow Summers, Leading Authority on Urban Economic Development and Educational Efficiency, Passes Away

Anita Arrow Summers Obituary:

Anita Arrow Summers, one of America’s foremost authorities on urban economic development and educational efficiency, breathed her last on October 22, 2023. Her legacy is an enduring testament to her contributions in the field.

A Stalwart in Economics Education

Anita Arrow Summers was a trailblazer from the outset. She began her academic journey by earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Hunter College in 1945. Her thirst for knowledge and commitment to excellence led her to the University of Chicago, where she obtained her Master’s degree in 1947. Armed with a strong educational foundation, Anita embarked on a journey that would significantly impact the world of economics and education.

Pioneering Public Policy at Wharton

Anita’s indomitable spirit and vision came to the fore when she joined the Wharton School. In 1979, she became the driving force behind the establishment of the first public policy department within a business school. Her leadership and dedication were further exemplified during her tenure as the department’s chair from 1983 to 1988. Anita Arrow Summers’ influence and expertise in this field were unparalleled.

A Champion for Women in Public Policy

Beyond her academic accomplishments, Anita was a tireless advocate for women in public policy and academia. Her inspirational work in championing evidence-based public policy left an indelible mark on the community she served. In May 2022, Anita engaged in a thought-provoking interview with Wharton Dean Erika James, shedding light on the importance of her mission.

A Shared Legacy

Anita’s remarkable journey was intricately linked with her husband, Robert (Bob) Summers, a distinguished faculty member at Penn Economics from 1960 until his retirement in 1991. Bob’s groundbreaking work in the measurement of consistent economic aggregates and prices across nations was recognized when he became an American Economics Association Distinguished Fellow in 1998. His election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 was a testament to his lasting impact.

Generosity in Legacy

Anita Arrow Summers’ contributions extended beyond academia and into her philanthropic endeavors. In 2022, she and her son, Larry Summers, established the Robert and Anita Summers Graduate Research Award, further cementing their commitment to the field of economics and education.

Fond Farewell

The Department of Economics and the entire academic community will deeply mourn the loss of Anita Arrow Summers. Her remarkable journey as a visionary, educator, and advocate will continue to inspire generations to come. Her legacy is immortalized in the annals of economic development and educational efficiency.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to her family and all those whose lives she touched. Anita’s impact on her field and the world will never be forgotten.

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