Professional News

UK Martin School Faculty Receive National Awards for Lifetime Achievement

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2020) — University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy and Administration longtime faculty members Merl Hackbart and David Wildasin recently received national recognition for lifetime achievement in their respective fields.

Hackbart is the recipient of the Aaron Wildavsky Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management in recognition of his lifelong scholarly achievement and service. Hackbart is a professor emeritus at the Martin School and the Provost’s Distinguished Service Emeritus Professor of Finance and Public Administration.

Wildasin is the 2020 winner of the National Tax Association’s highest honor, the Daniel M. Holland Medal. This award acknowledges lifetime achievement in the study of theory and practice of public finance.

“This is truly unprecedented for two faculty members from the same institution to receive these prestigious awards in the same year,” said Ron Zimmer, the Martin School director. “It is quite an honor for both the Martin School and the university to see Merl and David receive this much deserved recognition from their peers."

Hackbart has held numerous academic teaching and leadership positions since coming to UK in 1973 and has been with the Martin School since its inception in 1976. He has previously served as interim dean and associate dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. He also has served twice as budget director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“Merl exemplifies what it means to receive a lifetime achievement,” Zimmer added. “He has contributed greatly to our understanding of budgeting through his research, teaching and scholarship for nearly a half-century. State government has also benefited directly from his knowledge and expertise as a result of his service as state budget director.”

Wildasin joined the UK faculty in 2000. He is a research fellow at CESifo Research Network at the University of Munich, the IZA Institute of Labor Economics affiliated with the University of Bonn, and the Oxford Centre for Business Taxation. Previously he held positions at many research and academic institutions in the U.S. and around the world.

“This is a very significant award as some of the biggest names in public economics have won it over the years,” Zimmer said. “It is not surprising that David received it. His research has had a major impact in the field of public economics. He is one of the most widely cited economists in his field, and he continues to influence the research world by serving as a mentor to young scholars.”

Much of Wildasin’s research has focused on issues related to “open-economy” public economics. Hackbart’s research has dealt with public financial management including debt management, public pension funds, popular financial reporting and state government structural budget issues.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.