Ostrom Win

I am still reeling (wonder, bewilderment, confusion) about Obama’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize the other day…nominated for the Prize after being in Office for 9 – count ’em – nine days! Are the decisions for the award based on the ‘promise’ of an individual or on the accomplishments of the individual? Obama’s fellow nominees were of a significant calibre and, in my mind, more worthy of the award many having suffered under political strife or warfare and then gone on to lead in humanitarian efforts around the world.

Anyway, I AM heartened by the award to Elinor Ostrom (co-winner is O. Williamson – – – another big mover and shaker in the economics world) for the Nobel Prize in economics. Over the past few months, Ostrom’s work has been guiding our efforts in the NorComm project as we attempt to analyze the institutional structure and function of the international mouse repository network. Papers are in the works, folks! Ostrom built her career at a time when it was difficult for women to even obtain doctorates let alone in disciplines that tended to be male dominated. Truly, she is an inspiration.

A colleague of Lin’s circulated this congratulatory letter penned by the Provost at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

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Dear Colleagues,

Many of you have likely heard of today’s exciting announcement that Elinor Ostrom, the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science and Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, has been named the co-recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Economics.

On behalf of the Bloomington campus, I offer heartfelt congratulations to Lin for this extraordinary honor.

The Bloomington campus has been extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of Lin’s outstanding work as a teacher, researcher, advisor, and administrator for more than four decades. We have long recognized that she is one of the world’s preeminent social scientists and a pioneering, influential scholar.

She has launched institutions that have shaped the research careers of many social scientists, notably, IU’s Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, which she co-founded in 1973 with her husband Vincent Ostrom.

Lin was instrumental in establishing the commons as a new field for investigation. The field has matured remarkably over the last 20-30 years and Lin has been the driving force behind its growth. Her book, /Governing the Commons,/ dispelled the conventional wisdom about managing common property.

Boards, journals, and advisory groups around the world clamor for Lin’s leadership, her judgment, and her expertise.

Becoming the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Economics is a capstone on Lin’s trailblazing career. The honor brings reflected glory to our campus community and the state of Indiana.

All of us at Indiana University Bloomington are honored to have Elinor Ostrom as a colleague.


Karen Hanson
Provost and Executive Vice President

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