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Tapan Mitra


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Tapan Mitra Obituary
Tapan Mitra

Ithaca - Cornell University Economics Professor Tapan Mitra passed away peacefully in Ithaca on February 3, 2019, at the age of 70. Mukul, Malabika, Aveek and Jenni Majumdar, his family in Ithaca, were with him at the time. Born in 1948 in India to Ashok and Santi Mitra, he was educated at St. Xavier's High School, Bombay and Rajkumar College, Raipur. He studied at Presidency College, Calcutta University and Delhi University in India, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Rochester. Early in his career, he taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He joined Cornell's faculty in 1981. In recognition of his academic achievements and his services to the university, he was appointed Goldwin Smith Professor of Economics in 2007.

A leading mathematical economist of his generation, he co-authored and edited over 150 publications in economic theory and applied mathematics. He taught and mentored numerous students. He was awarded a Sloan Fellowship and was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society. Distinguished economists participated in a conference at Cornell to celebrate his 60th birthday; the proceedings were published as a Special Issue of the International Journal of Economic Theory dedicated to him.

In addition to his substantial scholarly accomplishments, Professor Mitra loved the outdoors and the beautiful surroundings of Ithaca. He liked gardening and fishing, and he cared deeply for animals, birds, and nature. He was a film buff, a voracious reader, and he pursued deep interests driven by his curiosity of the world and people around him. He generously supported many of his interests through his philanthropy.

During the last decade of his life, he courageously battled cancer. Despite his illness, he continued his research and published in his field's leading journals. Two years ago, he was elected a Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory. Last year, his colleagues and collaborators from around the world gathered in Ithaca to celebrate his 70th birthday. He was grateful to the staff at Cayuga Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Hospicare for providing him with care and support throughout this time.

He is survived by his brothers, Gautam (Judy Massare) of Rochester, NY, Shankar (Aparna) of Plano, TX, and Udayan of Delhi, India, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

In all of his pursuits, he displayed an uncommon level of grace, kindness, and sincerity. He leaves behind an international network of friends, family, colleagues, and students whom he loved, and who loved him in return. He will be dearly missed.

His family will host a gathering in Ithaca on February 16, and a memorial service will be held at Cornell in the spring with more details to follow. Donations in his memory can be made to the SPCA of Tompkins County.
Published in Ithaca Journal on Feb. 6, 2019
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