Saturday, April 23, 2016

In Memory of Professors Tibor Machan and Essai Adibi, Two Chapman Stars

Chapman University is in transition. President James Doti built Chapman from a small college to an expanding university. He is retiring. Chancellor Daniele Struppa will become President shortly and hope to further transit Chapman into a national university. Sadly, neither Professor Tibor Machan nor Esmael (“Essie”) Adibi will be there for the next stage. Both are economic conservatives who were cheerleaders for Orange County as a haven for entrepreneurs, as much as there can be entrepreneurs in today’s California. Both professors valued America as the land of opportunity for both were refugees from oppressive regimes. Tibor was smuggled out of Hungary in 1953 when he was 14. His father him wanted to escape the brutal Communist dictatorship. Tibor forever loathed communism, socialism, collectivism, and bureaucracy. Essie earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tehran, and then came to the United States to earn an MBA from Chapman. He was studying in the United States when the Shah of Iran fell, being succeeded by the authoritarian Ayatollahs. He wisely remained in the United States, earning a Masters in economics from Cal State University Fullerton, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Claremont Graduate School. His mentor at Chapman was then Professor James Doti. Essie returned to Chapman 38 years ago and co-prepared with Professor Doti the annual Chapman Economics Forecast for Orange County, which became a major economic event in Orange County. He was an expert in econometrics. He directed Chapman’s A Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research since 1985 and held the A Gary Anderson Chair of Economic Research. A memorial service was held at Chapman’s new Musco Center for the Performing Arts. The 1,000 seats were filled. A large percent of the mourners were his fellow Persians for Essie was also a pillar of the Persian expatriate community. Essie was also one the nicest people you would ever meet. He was also one of the hardest working people you would ever meet. He knew that success in America came from hard work. I still see Essie standing outside Beckman Hall with a smile on his face and a cigarette in his hand. Therein lies his mortality. He died at a young 63 from a massive stroke, undoubtedly related to his heavy smoker. A colleague last Monday said he advised Essie several times to quit smoking. Essie’s response was “to put a cigarette in his hand when he dies.” President Doti said of Essie: “I lost my closest friend and Chapman has lost one of its brightest stars.” Tibor was the Libertarian of Libertarians. He received his BA from Claremont Mckenna, an MA from NYU, and a Ph.D, from UC Santa Barbara, all in Philosophy. As a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Barbara, he and a few friends bought a magazine for $2,000. It became Reason Magazine, the magazine of, by and for libertarians. Tibor had a forceful presence. I sat on a couple of panels with him over the past 20 years. He could eviscerate knee jerk liberals in debates He was a prolific author with scores of books, columns and blogs, always espousing the cause of freedom, which included freedom from an increasing oppressive state and federal bureaucracy. He was a strong advocate for freedom, both personal and economic. He retired as an emeritus professor at Auburn University, but his career did not slow down. He was a fellow at the Hoover Institute in Palo Alto. He was a longtime columnist and consultant to Freedom Communications, publisher of the Orange County Register. He held the R.C. Hoilles Chair of Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at Chapman from 2004 through 2014. Raymond Cyrus Hoiles acquired the small Santa Ana Register newspaper and grew it into the Orange County Register and the parent Freedom Communications. R.C. Hoiles was outspokenly conservative on most issues, but was one of the few publishers to oppose the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. Tibor began writing for R.C. Hoiles and the Register while still a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Barbara. He fit into the Register.

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