Dr. Edward B. Montgomery became the ninth president of Western Michigan University on Aug. 1, 2017.
He came to WMU from Georgetown University, where he had served as dean and professor of economics at that university's McCourt School of Public Policy since 2010.
A nationally known labor economist, Montgomery has enjoyed a 35-plus-year academic career and played major roles in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. He has held faculty positions at Carnegie Mellon and Michigan State universities as well as the University of Maryland, winning teaching awards some five times over the years.
During President William Clinton's administration, Montgomery served as chief economist, then counselor and assistant secretary for the Department of Labor before being named deputy secretary of labor. In the latter role, the department's second highest position, he oversaw operations of the $33 billion department.
During President Barack Obama's administration, Montgomery was a member of the president's auto task force and led the inter-agency White House Council for Auto Communities and Workers. That position put him in a role national media dubbed "the Auto Czar."
More than 35 years in academics
Montgomery earned a bachelor's degree in economics with honors in 1976 from Pennsylvania State University, and master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Harvard University in 1980 and 1982, respectively.
He began his academic career in 1981 with a position at Carnegie Mellon, where he was a faculty member for five years. He then spent a year as a visiting scholar with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System before becoming a member of the Michigan State University faculty for four years. He joined the University of Maryland faculty in 1990, remaining there until his 2010 move to Georgetown. During his tenure at Maryland, he served for six years—2003-09—as dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. He also has been a visiting scholar at the Urban Institute, a think tank that focuses on social and economic policy research.
Research and service
As a researcher, Montgomery has focused on state and local economic growth, wage and pension determination, savings behavior, productivity and economic dynamics, social insurance programs, and unions. For more than two decades, he has been a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and since 2006, he has been a fellow of Stanford University's Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality.
Since 2011, he has served on the Comptroller General's Educators Advisory Committee in Washington's General Accountability Office. In 2011, he was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He serves on the board of directors of the Center for Law and Social Policy. He also serves on the Committee on Economic Statistics for the American Economic Association.
Montgomery and his wife, Kari, a Michigan native, have three grown children—Lindsay, Elizabeth and Edward.