FTE Pays Tribute to Jerry Hume

Jerry Hume and his wife Patti Hume at an event in 2014.
Jerry Hume and his wife Patti Hume at an event in 2014.

It is with deep sadness that we announce the loss of William J. Hume, known as Jerry Hume, former Chairman of the Board for the Foundation for Teaching Economics. He played a significant role in the shaping of the Foundation for Teaching Economics and he will be remembered fondly. Jerry was a businessman and philanthropist who devoted his time and energy to improving education standards.  He served on the boards of the California State Board of Education, the Heritage Foundation, the Center for Education Reform, and the California Council for Economic Education.

The following is a statement from FTE President Emeritus, Gary Walton, on their time together at FTE.


Jerry Hume died January 23, 2023 at his elegant home in San Francisco.  He was seated at his desk looking out at his favorite view, the Golden Gate Bridge and skyline, after taking his daily walk. He is survived by his wife Patti, having recently celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary, and by his three children and spouses, six grandsons, and extended family.

For more than three decades Jerry led the Foundation for Teaching Economics, transforming it in 1990 from a producer of classroom teaching materials to hands on face-to-face instruction.  I was fortunate at that time to be appointed President of the Foundation and to work with Jerry and Milton Friedman and other leading economists and educators to formulate experiential methods to teach economic reasoning propositions to guide and enhance better leadership decisions.  Week-long Economics for Leaders programs, combining high school teachers and students selected for their leadership potential, were implemented in 1991 at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University of California, Davis.

The success of the programs was so apparent that the Board of Trustees, with Jerry at the helm, promptly approved budget expansions to deliver the programs across the U.S. and Eastern Europe. At the outset of the fall of the Iron Curtain, FTE helped the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania successfully transform into viable open market economies. The success of the programs also assured FTE a stature nationwide to lead in the creation of National Economics Standards for high school economic instruction.  To this day, the work of FTE is thriving with program attendance at record highs.

I served at will under Jerry Hume’s leadership for over twenty-five years.  Never was there an unreasoned request or demand.  His guidance to all the staff was superb.  He will be sorely missed, but his impact has been so extraordinary, his objectives for FTE will carry on.

Gary Walton

Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of California, Davis
President Emeritus, Foundation for Teaching Economics

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