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W. Charles Sawyer memorial lecture welcomes renowned guest

The national debt clock is seen in midtown Manhattan, Thursday, May 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A beloved economics professor who died unexpectedly in 2021 was remembered on Feb. 22 at the Brown-Lupton University Union Auditorium, during a private screening of the award-winning documentary, “Finding the Money,” featuring the distinguished guest who comments of the national debt.

William Charles Sawyer was the Hal Wright Professor of Latin American economics. He died in 2021 because of medical complications.

William Charles Sawyer 1953-2021. (Photo courtesy of John Harvey)

“It was an absolute shock to everybody,” John Harvey, the Hal Wright Chair of economics, said.

The Herman Brown Chair of Political Science and Harvey sponsored the event to remember Sawyer’s legacy.

“One of the things I was determined to do was to honor Charlie in some way,” Harvey said. “It’s something I hope to do every year.”

Sawyer’s wife and daughter attended the memorial.

“It’s such an honor,” said Sawyer’s wife, Diana. “I’m very grateful for his colleagues and especially John.”

“Finding the Money” challenged the conventional idea of money through the view of the modern money theory, which sees the national debt as a historical record rather than a problem.

It featured Stephanie Kelton, who came to the memorial to speak about the film.

Stephanie Kelton answering questions from the audience. (Miroslava Lem Quinonez/Staff Writer)

Kelton, a New York Times best-selling author and a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University, served as an advisor to Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign.

She talked about her educational background and clarified the principles of the theory and the public response to the bigger picture.

The audience got to continue the conversation with her at the Lot 12 Rooftop Bar located on Berry Street.

“I enjoyed going to the rooftop bar in Lot 12 after the movie and listening to the conversations between Dr. Kelton and the audience members who met up with us there,” Harvey said. “One couple drove from San Antonio to be there and another from Austin.”

Kelton also spoke to economics classes later in the week.

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