E. James Jennings, a 32-year Purdue University Calumet professor and Valparaiso resident, who was respected for his regional economic perspectives and teaching manner and enjoyed for his dry sense of humor, died suddenly Saturday (6/5) at his home. He was 62.
A professor of economics, he also taught courses in statistics and business forecasting. His scholarly research included statistical quality control and the interface of economics and the law. He was involved in several studies that measured the economic impact of Purdue Calumet on the regional economy, and he consulted with industry regarding statistical control systems.
He also served as acting head of Purdue Calumet’s Department of Economics in the mid-1980s; director of the university’s Center for Economic Education; and chair of the Council of Faculty Delegates, the governance system that preceded Purdue Calumet’s current University Senate.
Colleague, Professor and Head of the Department of Finance and Economics Paul McGrath called Jennings “an anchor of the School (of Management) for 32 years.”
Another colleague, Professor of Management Casimir Barczyk, referred to Jennings as “humorous and challenging” in the classroom. “He wanted his students to think; he instilled in them a desire to look at the world in a critical, but optimistic fashion, and think of ways, from an economics standpoint, to improve it. He always had time for students and colleagues.”
As a faculty member of Purdue Calumet’s MBA for Executives Saturday program, Jennings was selected by students to receive the Outstanding Professor Award in 2007.
Barczyk called Jennings’ chairmanship of the Council of Faculty Delegates a role that “set the tone to give faculty greater voice in university affairs.”
Jennings earned a baccalaureate degree from Colorado State University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Southern Methodist (Tex.) University.
A funeral mass is scheduled Wednesday (6/9) at 11 a.m. at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 7667 East 109th Ave., Crown Point. Visitation with family members is set for Tuesday (6/8) from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Moeller Funeral Home, 104 Roosevelt Road, Valparaiso, and again one hour prior to the mass.