September 23, 1999
University Gazette


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Raymond Vernon Dies at 85

Raymond Vernon, the Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs Emeritus at the Kennedy School of Government, died Thursday, August 26. He was 85.

Among other accomplishments, Vernon was a member of the Marshall Plan team and a central player in the development of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

"Ray Vernon possessed a wide-ranging knowledge of international trade and the economics of developing nations that contributed greatly to the expansion of Harvard’s global focus in the postwar era," said President Neil Rudenstine.

At the Kennedy School, Vernon was a member of the Center for Business and Government, teaching courses on the role of multinational enterprises and the political economy of the European Union. His research illustrated the breadth of his interests and his grasp of economics, politics, and history.

Vernon was also a world-class crewer, competing in the Head of the Charles for many years and breaking the "indoor crash B sprints" world record while in his 80s. A devoted member of the Cambridge Boat Club for 40 years, Vernon and his late wife, Josephine, donated the Club's weathervane.

Born in New York City in 1913, Vernon studied at the College of the City of New York, where he received his B.A. cum laude in 1933. He earned a Ph.D. in economics in 1941 from Columbia University. He then spent 24 years in the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of State dealing with issues in the postwar recovery of Japan and Europe. He helped negotiate Japan into GATT and secured nondiscriminatory treatment for Japanese exports.

In 1956, Vernon received an offer from the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration to head that School's New York Metropolitan Region Study. The three-year project he headed looked into the future to describe what was likely to happen to the New York region during the next quarter century. The work influenced a generation of urban planners and correctly estimated the continuing vitality and strength of the central business district and the forces of gentrification around the edges.

Vernon joined the Harvard Faculty in 1959. In 1965, he directed the Multinational Enterprise Project at the Harvard Business School. Set up to study the operations of U.S.- and foreign-based multinational enterprises, Vernon's team looked at these organizations in terms of finance, organization, production, marketing, and business-government relations.

Joining the Kennedy School in 1981, Vernon established himself as a central figure in the Center for Business and Government continuing his work on multinational enterprises, the global trading system, privatization, and regulation.

Vernon was the author of numerous books and articles, among them, Sovereignty at Bay (1973), Big Business and the State: Changing Relations in Western Europe (1974); Storm Over the Multinationals: The Real Issues (1977); Two Hungry Giants: The United States and Japan in the Quest for Oil and Ores (1983); Beyond Globalism: Remaking American Foreign Economic Policy (1989); and Iron Triangles and Revolving Doors (1991).


Copyright 1999 President and Fellows of Harvard College