As a young lad growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, I was fascinated by geography. After I mastered the state capitals, my interest shifted to foreign countries and eventually to the seven continents. I remember voraciously reading National Geographic articles, particularly those on the peoples of Africa. As an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, I majored in history. I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 and served in Nigeria, which strengthened my commitment to understand and improve the lives of others less fortunate.
Thereafter, I realized my childhood dream of experiencing the world and studying its people. I earned an MA in international relations at the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (1965) and PhD in economics at Harvard (1969). I then spent my entire academic career at Stanford, teaching and carrying out research in the Food Research Institute. My career focused on international trade and development and my retirement on the rise and fall of empires. Since retiring, I have lectured on 120 educational travel trips, 65 of them with the Stanford Travel/Study program.