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'A brilliant colleague': UC Berkeley professor John Morgan dies at age 53

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NOVEMBER 07, 2021

Professor John Morgan, an economist who discovered new methods of game theory analysis and taught popular classes at UC Berkeley, died at age 53 Oct. 6 in his home in Walnut Creek.

Morgan taught at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business for nearly 20 years, teaching his students intriguing strategy games, according to a Berkeley Haas press release. Even though he had a painful autoimmune disease, he continued to teach classes and conduct research.

“John was a brilliant colleague,” said David Levine, campus professor at the Haas School of Business. “We would go to seminars that were very complicated and he would explain in 45 seconds what someone had failed to communicate in an hour.”

Morgan was born Nov. 11, 1967, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and attended college at the University of Pennsylvania, the press release stated. Later on, he graduated with a doctoral degree in economics from Pennsylvania State University.

Upon graduation, Morgan received an assistant professorship in economics and public affairs position at Princeton University, also becoming a visiting professor at New York University and a visiting fellow Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, the press release noted. He began teaching at the Haas School of Business in 2002.

The press release noted that he wrote a doctoral thesis entitled “Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries,” which demonstrated his dignified and beautiful lines of thought.

Serving as a teacher and as an economist, Morgan made a very impactful imprint on the lives of his students.

“He was a very quick thinker and he could find humor in many situations and he was quick to find the humor and figure it out,” Levine said. “He enjoyed research and was generous in finding the way in the world and insights.”

As a father, Morgan’s family witnessed his passions outside of the workplace. Heather Evans, Morgan’s wife, described him in the press release as a “brilliant, loving, quirky man” whose hobbies always eventually developed into obsessions.

Morgan’s numerous interests included traveling, hiking, fountain pen collecting, photography and painting “miniatures” for the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

​​”I would say his accomplishment was excelling in being a professor in inspiring and serving the university,” Levine said.

Contact Nadia Farjami at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @Nadiafarjami.

NOVEMBER 07, 2021

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