Barb Yates

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on Monday, May 30, 2011 at 9:06 AM PDT


Barb Yates is retiring after 41 years at Seattle U.  Barb teaches economics and has been chair of the Department of Economics since 1989.  She started at SU in 1970.  She has earned seven teaching awards at SU, including the SU Alumni Professor of the Year Award in 2006.  She has no doubt taught thousands of students (quite successfully!) and as department chair mentored and guided dozens of faculty.  What a run!  She will be sorely missed at SU.

We had a dinner for her last week, and it gave people a chance to pay tribute to her many contributions to SU.  Bill Weis and Dave Tinius, who have been colleagues for most of her time at SU, complained about her scooping up all the teaching awards.  Fred Dekay spoke about the collegiality of the Department of Economics (and for a long time, the Department of Economics and Finance) under Barb’s leadership.  John Eshelman noted how Barb provided credibility and cover to the Pacioli Society.  If you are not familiar with the secretive Pacioli Society, it was created by Dave and Bill to facilitate the celebration of Luca Pacioli’s 400th birthday and was instrumental in the sustainability of their study tours to Sansepolcro, Italy (Pacioli’s birthplace).  The Pacioli Society has been the target of many rumors, none that can be repeated here.

Sean Klosterman, a former student of Barb’s, talked about Barb as a servant-leader, and it certainly was a fitting observation.  She truly has been serving students and colleagues for over 40 years.  Barb Yates doesn’t seem to have an ego.  She is never looking for credit for anything she does.  She is very humble and unassuming.  Several in the audience noted that she was always upbeat – the glass is always “half full rather than half empty” for Barb.

It is faculty and staff such as Barb Yates that have enabled Seattle U. to carry out its mission of academic excellence.  The rising reputation of the university is the result of her hard work and long standing dedication to the mission of the university, and others like her.  Barb is one of many faculty and staff who should not be taken for granted in terms of what they contribute to “educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”  It certainly has been a pleasure and an honor to work with Barb Yates during my ten years at SU!