Remembering Karl “Chip” Case

July 18, 2016
Karl “Chip” Case, Professor of Economics Emeritus giving lecture in classroom.

To the Wellesley Community,

It is with sadness that I tell you of the passing of Karl “Chip” Case, Professor of Economics Emeritus, on Friday, July 15, after a long illness.

Chip Case received his B.A. from Miami University in 1968, spent three years on active duty in the Army, and received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1976 before coming to Wellesley. Chip had a long and distinguished career at Wellesley, where he taught for 34 years and held the Katherine Coman and A. Barton Hepburn Chair in Economics. Chip was a world-renowned expert in the areas of real estate, housing, and public finance and was the author of five books and numerous articles in professional journals. Principles of Economics, a textbook that he co-wrote with Ray Fair (and subsequently with Sharon Oster), is in its 10th edition and one of the most widely used texts in introductory economics courses all over the world.

Chip was also founding partner of the firm Case Shiller Weiss and was well known nationally for his pioneering research on the housing market. Professor Case and his friend and collaborator, Nobel Prize–winning Yale University economist Robert Shiller, produced the Case-Shiller Index of home prices, which today is the most widely used index of house prices in the United States. Chip’s expertise in the area of real estate economics led him to hold key advisory positions in both the private and government sectors throughout his career.

As accomplished a scholar and economist as Chip was, faculty colleagues confirm that he always thought of himself, first and foremost, as a teacher of Wellesley students. They say that Chip inspired thousands of students to major in economics. He was also an extraordinary fan of Wellesley athletics, a voluble one-man cheering squad for the basketball, volleyball, and tennis teams, among others.

In a touching tribute, Chip’s daughter, Kristen Case, and his wife, Susie Case, wrote:

We remember his irreverent and irrepressible humor—with him till the end—as well as his passion for wine, the Red Sox, country music, Wellesley athletics, and being alive. Wherever he is, it’s an uncloudy day, and he’s driving too fast and playing the music too loud. We’re so grateful to the many, many of you who reached out to him in one way or another during his illness. He felt that love, as did we.

We offer our condolences to Chip’s family and friends. Chip will be remembered, and will be missed, by the Wellesley campus community and by Wellesley alumnae throughout the world.