Lahouaria Yssaad asked me to speak a few words and I am honoured to oblige her request. Huntley was a mentor to me during the unfortunately short three and a half years that we have been colleagues. We were also collaborating on two joint projects, one including another colleague here, Radovan Vadovič. I hope to bring these projects to their end. Rado and I have applied for funds for the paper with Huntley shortly after his passing away; we thought at first to scrap the project or delay it, but we then agreed that Huntley would probably have wanted us to move ahead.
That is because I have known Huntley as an incredibly dedicated and passionate researcher and teacher, with a profound interest and belief in his work. While it is the norm that academics slow down in their research activity in their fifties, Huntley showed no sign of this. He was ever-present in the Department, working on a large number of projects in parallel, seemingly never-tiring; whenever I asked him how he was doing, he would genuinely respond “Great!” most of the time. With his boundless energy, he would not only dedicate himself to research, though, but he also assiduously participated in department meetings and seminars and found time to give advice to and work with junior colleagues. For instance, he successfully completed a grant application with another colleague, Chris Gunn.
Huntley not only worked with several of his colleagues at Carleton, but he was also collaborating widely with researchers from other universities and was proud to attend the prestigious NBER meetings every year for more than a decade. Huntley was especially excited about a project titled “Financial constraints, corporate savings, and the value of cash,” about which he frequently talked to me. I will thus read a message that one co-author on this paper, Neng Wang from Columbia University, sent; it is representative of the messages from his other co-authors:
“I was privileged and very fortunate to have an opportunity to work with Huntley as a co-author. In him I see a truly passionate economist who holds the highest standard for scholarly work. He was an amazing co-author for us and had done much more than his share on our joint work. Simply put, we were lucky to have an opportunity to work with him [and] learn from him and we will miss Huntley very much. He left us too soon and too early.
“As [was] Huntley, we’ve also been very excited about our joint project. Patrick and I will do our best to complete the projects with Huntley, but I’ve to confess that without Huntley, it’s a lot more challenging, but we will try our best.”
I have also learned a lot from Huntley, about many aspects of our profession—tips on teaching, how to organize time, how to write grant proposals, about administrative issues, and of course about research. At the same time, and outside the university walls, we also became friends and went skiing and on culinary or cultural excursions together. We also had many interesting and enlightening discussions about a plethora of subjects, other than economics, he was interested in: science, politics, psychology, literature, languages, theatre, and music. Huntley had an insatiable curiosity about all of these topics and was equally well-informed about them as about his research. Sometimes I wondered how he managed to do that. Then I noticed that when he did not work—for instance when he walked or rode his bike or even in the washroom!—he would listen to The Economist podcast or dictate something to his phone. There is a cliché that says “Live life to the fullest, use every minute.” I believe that Huntley really lived this. He is an inspiration to me, both personally and professionally, and I am sure also to others in the Department. He will be sorely missed.