Economist Michael L. Walden accepted the Award for Excellence in Public Service today from the Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina system. UNC President Erskine Bowles and committee chairman Charles Hayes presented Walden with the award, which includes a $7,500 cash prize.
Walden, the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of economics, has taught at NC State for 32 years and is arguably the most-recognized economist in North Carolina. An award-winning teacher and researcher, he has pioneered mass media use in extension programming to help citizens understand complex economic principles and relationships.
He writes and broadcasts a daily commercial radio program, writes a biweekly column carried by more than 40 newspapers, conducts a monthly radio call-in program and publishes biannual regional and state economic forecasts. Over the past three decades, he has given more than 1,200 public workshops, conducted 10,000 radio broadcasts and interviews, written 700 columns and appeared on 600 television programs.
Governors, legislators and local government leaders have called on Walden to advise commissions, task forces and public policy groups. He served on the Scholars Council of the UNC Tomorrow Commission, which identified how the system can best meet the changing needs of the state. The NC Department of Commerce has used Walden’s economic models in recruiting businesses. His recommendations have been applied to state and local tax structure changes.
Walden has written eight books, including North Carolina in the Connected Age: Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalizing Economy. He was one of the first inductees into NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension.