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Meet a Colleague: Peter Grajzl Peter Grajzl is the John F. Hendon Professor of Economics.

Peter-Grajzl-scaled-600x400 Meet a Colleague: Peter GrajzlPeter Grajzl, John F. Hendon Professor of Economics

Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
Since 2009.

Q. What courses are you teaching this term?
None! I’m on sabbatical.

Q. What is the most satisfying aspect of teaching?
When I unexpectedly receive a note from a former student telling me that I made a difference in their studies.

Q. What do you like most about working at W&L?
The freedom to pursue intellectual topics of my interest and the beautiful campus.

Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
I have two. The back-campus trail around the gazebo and the small enclosed garden at Belfield.

Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
I like to be physically active, which for me entails a mixture of swimming, not-too-much running/jogging, quasi working-out, moderate hiking in good company, and as of recently baby-steps indoor climbing.

Q. Where did you grow up?
In Velenje, Slovenia. During my childhood, the town was called Titovo Velenje (Tito’s Velenje, after Josip Broz Tito who liked having places named after him). This was in a country called Yugoslavia, which no longer exists.

Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An archeologist, a marine biologist, or a cosmologist — somebody who could learn new things by exploring. I am pretty certain that no child ever dreams of becoming an economist.

Q. Who inspired you to teach? What about them inspired you?
Professor Marija Zupanc. When I was in middle school, she was already a retiree. She was an acquaintance of my mom’s. My parents thought it would be a good idea for me to be her student because she could teach me things that I would not learn in school. They were right. Over several years, Professor Zupanc taught me German, Latin and a little bit of Italian. Much of my language proficiency has faded. But what remained is a mode of thinking and approach to learning that she instilled. She taught languages as if they were mathematics, an approach that I cherished. Intellectually, she was a genius. As a person, she was a maverick. We shared a birthday. Gracias ago, domina magistra.

Q. What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
I do not think of myself as adventurous. But, in the summer of 1991, amidst the spreading war in the former Yugoslavia, I somehow convinced my parents to allow me to attend the first-ever private basketball camp in the region. The camp took place in Umag, Croatia. There, I met some of the earlier and later giants of Slovenian and Yugoslav basketball. In 1999, as a college senior, I left Slovenia for a full year of study-abroad at the University of Glasgow (Scotland), as part of the first cohort of Slovenian Socrates/Erasmus exchange students. The experience solidified my desire to go to graduate school. Last year, I travelled from Fairbanks to McCarthy, located in the heart of the Wrangell Mountains in Alaska. In signing the car rental contract, my friends and I had to commit to not transporting antlers, whether in or on the outside of the vehicle (?!).

Q. What book are you reading now?
Right now, Henry Maine’s “Ancient Law,” published in 1861. Recently, a novel by Drago Jančar, a Slovenian author. In the future, I’d like to read some more works by Arto Paasilinna, a Finish writer.

Q. What is the website you visit most often and why?
I like to follow Slovenian sports websites and especially the website of the Slovenian Basketball Association. I keep up-to-date with the developments in the first to fourth national basketball divisions, in case I ever get a chance to assist a childhood friend of mine at managing a team.

Q. If you could have coffee with one person, who would it be and why?
Peter Vilfan, a Slovenian basketball star from the Yugoslav period. I’d tell him how greatly I enjoyed reading his autobiography. I’d wish him well and I’d ask him for an autograph.

Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
In Slovenia, somewhere in the broad region where I grew up.

Q. If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?
David Hasselhoff.

Q. What is your desert island food?
Oatmeal with apple sauce, chia seeds, almonds, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and a sliced banana. Surely all available on a desert island. If not, then IHOP wholegrain blueberry pancakes.

Q. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
As a young adult, I appeared in a music video. (No, I won’t tell in which one.)

Q. What is your secret talent?
I can wiggle my ears.

Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
If I don’t say hi to you when our paths cross, then this is likely because I am not wearing my glasses when I should be.