For Immediate Release
All Zones
June 8, 2001
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Office of Marketing and Communications
Leslie Singer, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Business Leader
Passes Away in Toronto

Former Northwest Indiana business leader and retired Indiana University Northwest economics professor Dr. Leslie Singer, has passed away in Toronto. A resident of Indiana since 1952, Singer served as a faculty member at IU Northwest from 1953 to his retirement in 1997 when he was given “Professor Emeritus” status. Formally a resident of Griffith, Singer also resided in Crown Point and Miller during his 49 years in Northwest Indiana. Following his retirement, Singer and his wife, Mary moved to Toronto, Canada. 

As an economics professor and business leader, Singer specialized in financial economics, regional and industrial economics, economic forecasting, and economics of art markets. He worked with many major corporations and hundreds of local businesses in providing location and market analysis. 

“Dr. Singer's contributions to the development of both Indiana University 
Northwest and the Northwest Indiana region were immeasurable,” says Marilyn Vasquez, Vice Chancellor and former Dean of the School of Business.  Although he was retired, he continued to provide consultation to the campus.  He was truly a gentleman and a scholar.  He will be sorely missed."

Besides being known as an economics expert in the classroom and community, Singer also authored scholarly publications in the area of fine arts where he received world recognition for his work in culture and the arts. According to many friends and colleagues in the Northwest Indiana region, his art collection helped “raise a level of art appreciation” in the region. 

“Leslie was one of my dearest friends - as well as my mentor in the arts,” says Pastor Chuck Wheeler of Christ Community Church in Hobart. He explains that Singer introduced him to music, literature, poetry and art while he was in his 30s. “It was a ‘coming alive’ time for me, in fact I actually experienced an art conversion when he first took me to the Art Institute. He asked me to look closely at a Rembrandt piece and then look at the others – and I could tell the difference, the Rembrandt had deeper expression,” Wheeler added with a chuckle. 

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1922, Singer’s life reflected the passion he held for the arts and his community. He received a BA and a Doctorate degree from the University of Bratislava in Czechoslovakia in the 1940s. In the mid-1940s, he was arrested by the Gestapo and escaped by crashing through a window from the second floor of Gestapo headquarters. He was later arrested by the Czech secret police, charged with sedition, and held in a dungeon in Czechoslovakia. After 4 months of interrogation, the young Singer lost sight in his right eye and was sentenced to 30 months hard labor. He finally escaped from detention in 1950 when a mineshaft collapsed and he was able to walk to the border. From there, Singer swam across the Danube, and walked to Vienna where he joined the British Council. From 1950 to 1951, Singer served as a correspondent of the East European Division of the International Federation of Journalists. He was also a reporter and economic analyst for Voice of America. After coming to the United States in the early 1950s, Singer attended Indiana University where he received a MA and a Ph.D. in economics.

“He was a remarkable man,” says Edith Jones of the School of Business at IU Northwest. “Not only was he remarkable, but he was an especially kind and thoughtful person. I truly enjoyed working with him.”

Besides devoting over 40 years to IU Northwest’s School of Business and Economics, Singer was a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and a non-resident scholar with the International Research Institute at IU Bloomington. He also served as advisor to the budget committee of the Indiana State Legislature, and worked closely with the late U.S. Senator Paul Douglass. Singer wrote numerous textbooks on economics, and has been published in many journals and publications. He was also a regular participant on the Indiana Economic Outlook panel.

Singer is survived by his wife Mary, of Toronto; his daughter and son-in-law, Aviva and Patrick Duggan; grandson Shawn, and Kellee, and granddaughters Rachael and Jennifer - all of Michigan. A memorial service performed by Pastor Wheeler will be on July 14 at Christ Community Church (Highway 30 and Route 51) in Hobart. A time will be announced at a later date.

“He was a very special person,” adds Pastor Wheeler, “A brilliant person with a tender heart.” 

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