Ron Hansen Portrait 1


A Tribute to Ron Hansen 

The William H. Meckling

Professor Emeritus of Business Administration

Earlier this year, Simon Business School lost a dedicated educator, researcher, and friend. With a career spanning several decades, he leaves a lasting legacy at Simon. Ron Hansen’s contributions had a profound impact on Simon Business School and the pharmaceutical development and innovation field. Hansen first joined Simon in 1971 as an assistant professor at what was then known as the University of Rochester’s Graduate School of Management. He would leave Simon in 1986 to become associate professor, Merrell Dow Professorship, at The Ohio State University, only to return to Simon two years later as associate dean for academic affairs. He would hold this position, which was later retitled senior associate dean for faculty and research, until 2009.

Influence and Legacy

The impact Hansen’s life made on Simon extended far beyond administrative roles— encompassing faculty recruitment, curriculum development, teaching, the promotion and tenure process, and many other critical roles. As the senior associate dean for program development, Hansen played a pivotal role in shaping the growth and success of the school's offerings—perhaps most notably in the establishment of the undergraduate program. He also spearheaded joint initiatives with the University of Rochester’s engineering and medical programs. Led by his mentor Karl Brunner, he was named the associate director of the Center for Research in Government Policy, which would later be named the Bradley Policy Research Center. Hansen would go on to lead the Bradley Policy Research Center himself as director until 2014. The Elizabeth S. Hansen Award was established in memory of his late wife, a 1974 graduate of the Simon Business School Master of Science program. The award honors the graduating student with the highest GPA in the MS program.

Early career and research

Ron Hansen Portrait 2

Hansen earned a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago, where he also received his master’s degree. His undergraduate work was at Northwestern University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Research and development in the pharmaceutical industry would be Hansen’s primary focus, and his notable paper, "The Price of Innovation: New Estimates of Drug Development Costs," published in the Journal of Health Economics, stands as his most cited work at over 6,270 citations. His research has been cited 12,400 times according to Google Scholar. 

Hansen's connection with the Simon Business School extended beyond his formal tenure. In 1969, he served as a consultant on the US President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Forces—a commission led by former Simon dean William Meckling, which also included former University of Rochester president W. Allen Wallis in addition to former chairmen of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan and legendary economist Milton Friedman.

“A debt of gratitude”

After Hansen’s retirement in 2016, the late Dean Andrew Ainslie said of him, “Ron has been an invaluable resource at Simon. His wealth of institutional knowledge has made so many initiatives possible, particularly the expansion of the undergraduate program. All of Simon owes Ron Hansen a debt of gratitude for his decades of service.”

Dean Sevin Yeltekin said in a statement to Simon faculty and staff after his passing this summer, “I had the pleasure of working with Ron on the Carnegie-Rochester-NYU series on Public Policy, and the Bradley Center for Policy Research,” she wrote. “His dedication to Simon made him an integral part of our faculty and administrative team for many years. We thank him for a career that spanned many decades and six deans. He touched the lives of thousands of students and alumni and contributed immensely to the academic excellence of the Simon Business School.