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IU Scholar Vincent Ostrom Dies Weeks After Wife’s Death

IU Professor Vincent Ostrom died Friday from complications from cancer.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

    Michael McRobbie introduces Elinor and Vincent Ostrom in a ceremony honoring Elinor Ostrom for her Nobel Prize.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

    Elinor and Vincent Ostrom founded what is now called the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis.

Vincent Ostrom, Indiana University professor and co-founder of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, died Friday, less than three weeks after his wife, Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom, from complications related to cancer.

Vincent Ostrom, 92, was the Arthur F. Bentley Professor Emeritus of Political Science at IU and the husband of the late Elinor Ostrom, the only female to win the Nobel prize in economics. Elinor Ostrom died June 12, also of cancer. She was 78 years old.

“Vincent’s death, especially coming so soon after his wife Lin’s passing, is an inestimable and tragic loss to the university and to the broad fields of political theory, social-science and policy-based interdisciplinary research,” IU President Michael McRobbie said in a statement released Saturday. “Together, Vincent and Lin Ostrom comprised a unique scholarly team. Vincent was the biggest supporter of Lin’s work, which earned her the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2009; while Lin was quick to credit Vincent for much of her own success.”

The couple founded the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis in 1973. It has since served as a  world renowned center for interdisciplinary research and was renamed the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis in May of this year for the couple’s contributions.

IU Professor Michael McGinnis, who worked closely with the Ostroms, said Vincent Ostrom was “a distinctive voice in the fields of public administration and political philosophy” and emphasized the couple’s unique relationship.

“They made a great team, both as scholars and as spouses,” McGinnis says. “Each was devoted to the other until the very end.”

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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