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Lester Thurow

Noted economist Lester Thurow, who graduated from Anaconda High School in 1956, died Friday at age 77.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who addressed the challenges and consequences of a global economy and once said he just wanted “to make the world better,” has died.

Lester Thurow, who graduated from Anaconda High School in 1956, was 77.

The university announced Tuesday that Thurow had died Friday at his Westport home. No cause was given.

Thurow started teaching at MIT in 1968 and was dean of the university’s Sloan School of Management from 1987 until 1993. He had written numerous books, and in 1964-65 was a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

According to The Montana Standard's file stories, Thurow returned to Anaconda in 1976 for his 20th class reunion. He was commencement speaker at Anaconda High School in 1984, telling the 204 graduates that after he graduated from AHS, he went to work in the Kelley Mine in Butte. 

A native of Livingston, Thurow's father was a Methodist minister who moved his family to Anaconda when Thurow was a child. After graduation, Thurow attended Williams College, where he received his bachelor's degree. He then went on to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar for his master's and Harvard for his doctorate, which he received in 1964.

Thurow told graduates in 1984 that life is a kind of game that can't be won unless they play. Winning at life takes a lot of hard work, but there is always the aspect of luck that enters into everything.

Good luck is easy to accept, he said, bad luck is harder.

Thurow, saying everyone is faced with problems and misfortune during their lives, urged the graduates not to lose heart during the tough times, but to keep trying.

He said that no one is really a self-made person, and if he were he would be poorly made. Everyone owes some of their success to others. He received applause from the crowd of nearly 3,000.

In an interview with the Standard in 1984, Thurow said a key to the Anaconda-Butte revival is replacing the depleted natural resources with human resources.

Thurow said in 1984 that he had positive memories of Anaconda.

"I've always thought it was a pretty good place to grow up. Nothing in the intervening years has changed that.''

MIT President L. Rafael Reif said Thurow “spent his life trying to make society more farsighted and more fair,” and “embodied MIT’s mission to advance knowledge and educate students in service to the nation and the world.”

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 The Associated Press provided the national content for this story.

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