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Spring 2020: A Voyage of Discovery
Professor

Brian Strow

Western Kentucky University

As a young paperboy, Brian found that it was good to make money. As a junior high loan shark, he learned that it takes money to make money. As a high school farm hand, Brian learned the hard way that “walking beans” has nothing to do with the amount of exercise soybeans get. As a snow crew worker in college, Brian decided it would be better to stay in school long enough to avoid a life of 3 a.m. freezing-cold manual labor.

Upon graduating from Wheaton College, Brian headed off to graduate school at Vanderbilt University where he earned his Ph.D.in economics. Finally, (and about time according to his grandmother) Dr. Strow took a position at Western Kentucky University where he has been teaching economics for the last 20 years.

His favorite (most days) side hustle is co-parenting his four children (Tucker 16, Colette 14, Oliver 12, and Thatcher 9) with his wife, Dr. Claudia Strow (the real Dr. Strow).  Having coached over 30 seasons of his kids’ sporting teams, Brian learned the importance of the post-game snack. Apparently kids these days need more than tap water and orange slices.

Brian once attempted to escape campus politics by running for public office. He served two terms as a city commissioner in Bowling Green, KY. There he gained firsthand knowledge of why markets typically outperform government planning. He also learned that spending other people’s money was way more fun than spending his own. A chocolate muffin and $25 million later, the city got a new minor league baseball park. If the team had been affiliated with his beloved Chicago White Sox, the chocolate muffin might not have been necessary. Though out of politics himself, Dr. Strow has served as an economic advisor to many state and federal elected officials. He also consults in legal cases as a forensic economist.

Dr. Strow has taught on four continents and been to six and a half. The half comes from his visit to the Antarctic simulation room in Christchurch, New Zealand. It wasn’t really Antarctica, but it was sort of like it. That’s a lot like his students’ essay answers to which he also gives partial credit. In his classes, Dr. Strow mixes a healthy dose of very bad jokes with an occasional dash of economic wisdom. At least he tries to do the latter.