Thursday, April 21, 2011

Updated Obituary: Dr. Richard Hannah

Dr. Richard Hannah
Middle Tennessee State University mourns the death this week of Dr. Richard Hannah, a professor in the Department of Economics and Finance who served as an international goodwill ambassador for our students.

Hannah, 59, whose work as part of the University Honors College included development of the first Buchanan Fellows macroeconomics course, joined MTSU in 1992. The Buchanan Fellowship, named for Nobel Prize laureate and MTSU alumnus James Buchanan, is the highest award given to students entering the Honors College.

“Richard was a distinguished professor, beloved by his students and colleagues and greatly valued for his service to our University,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. “His scholarship and leadership helped make MTSU stronger and we are deeply saddened by his passing.

“Our sympathies go out to Richard’s wife, Emma, and the entire family,” the President said.

Hannah traveled extensively overseas as a goodwill ambassador for the University. His most recent trip was to Bangladesh in December 2010 to meet with executives of Grameen Bank, founded by Nobel laureate and former MTSU professor Muhammad Yunus, to arrange for more MTSU student internships.

“Dr. Hannah believed he could inspire MTSU students by giving them examples of individuals like Dr. Buchanan and Dr. Yunus, and I believe he succeeded in this endeavor,” said John Vile, dean of the Honors College. “We are devastated by the loss. “

Hannah was the Honors College’s resident faculty member from the Jennings A. Jones College of Business and taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels at the University. For a decade, he was the host of “Inside Academia,” a television program produced at MTSU on higher education.

He also created the first online graduate-level Managerial Economics course at MTSU.

Hannah received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from UT-Chattanooga and another Bachelor of Arts degree in German at MTSU, where he also earned his Master of Arts degree in economics. He received his Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Utah.

Prior to becoming a full-time professor, Hannah served as director of MTSU’s Center for Economic Education and worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

[earlier note from Dean James Burton]


  1. Such a great professor. Rest in Peace.

  2. Rest in peace, Dr. Hannah. You were such a wonderful professor, and someone so full of life and ambition. Best regards to his family; you should all be proud of his life in education.

  3. Dr. Hannah was a brilliant professor and a wonderful asset to MTSU. He really had a way with his students. It is truly a tragedy that such a lively, fit, and adventurous man lost his life as early as he. You will be missed and never forgotten, Dr. Hannah.

  4. Richard was a great friend and a true scholar. What a tragedy for the world. Emma, we all mourn your loss, we love you in Grundy County. E.

  5. Tragedy, indeed. Richard will be greatly missed. Love and support to Emma and the rest of the family.

  6. This is as much as we know yet:

  7. A beautiful man...Inside and out. He wasn't even my professor when he took the time to meet with me and answer some questions I had. I am so saddened by this news.

  8. I just found out - this is ridiculously unfair! :( he was the best professor I had, and the only one who remembered my name even after I graduated.... He was the best and will be sooooooooooo missed.... Life is unfair.

  9. Dr. Hannah was a great example of encourage and inspire. He was one of the kindest, most supportive, and most encouraging person I met. Without him, I would have never accomplished what I have today.

  10. I am so upset to find out about this! I was attempting to make contact with Dr. Hannah when I read this news. As many others have said, he was my favorite professor at MTSU and while seeking my degree in economics, I made sure to take as many classes from him as I could. He really made people think out of the box, and you could tell he was passionate and intent on actually teaching. He also had such a great attitude about everything. Take it easy in the next realm, Dr. Hannah!