STANFORD—The late Nobel laureate Milton Friedman was recognized by friends and colleagues for his contributions, both professional and personal, on January 22 during a memorial service at Stanford University. Friedman is regarded by many as one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century and one of the greatest economists in history. His influence transcended economics—he was an ardent defender of personal and economic liberty, an active voice in public policy debate, and a leader in the school choice movement in the United States. He died on November 16, 2006, at the age of 94.
Hoover senior fellow and director John Raisian and Hoover distinguished fellow George P. Shultz made welcoming remarks at the memorial service. Tributes were given by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Edward Lazear, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and Hoover senior fellow on leave; and Hoover senior fellows Thomas Sowell, Michael Boskin, Eric Hanushek, John Taylor, Richard Epstein, and Gary Becker. Concluding remarks were made by Raisian.
Friedman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1976 “for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.” He also received the National Medal of Science and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Friedman was appointed a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, in 1977, and he was the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago (where he taught from 1946 to 1976). For more than four decades, Friedman was a significant contributor at the National Bureau of Economic Research, dating to his early career as a staff researcher in 1937.
After serving as an adviser to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and in the statistical war research group at Columbia University during World War II, Friedman returned to the University of Chicago in 1946. There he helped create an unrivaled community—a true movement—of economic intellects that became known as the Chicago School of Economics. It stressed the importance of the quantity theory of money and free markets and encouraged true competition as the basis for sound economic policy.
His landmark book Free to Choose, cowritten with his wife, Rose Friedman, resulted in an influential ten-part television series by the same name, which was broadcast on PBS in 1980.
Friedman matriculated at Rutgers University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1932; the following year he received his M.A. at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph. D. from Columbia University in 1946.
Milton and Rose married in 1938. They were full partners in life and professionally. Milton was never averse to crediting Rose—a distinguished economist in her own right—with helping him form and sharpen ideas. In 1998, they published their memoir, Two Lucky People, a brilliant reminder of the respect and love the two held for each other.
Mrs. Friedman survives him, along with a son, David Friedman, a daughter, Janet Martel, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.