Lecture theatre in home of economics named for generous legacy gift

The Frank Anton Lecture Theatre has been named in recognition of a generous legacy gift which established a scholarship for graduate students in the department.

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The Frank Anton Lecture Theatre in 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields recognises the valuable contribution made by Dr Frank R Anton (BSc Economics 1950). Dr Anton was navigator of an RAF Lancaster bomber shot down over Germany in 1943 during the second world war. Subsequently held captive in a prison camp for two years, he used this time to advance his education and develop his passion for economics. After the war, he won entrance to LSE and obtained his BSc in 1950.

“While a prisoner of war, someone lent Frank a very old book on economics – he said reading it was like a light being turned on,” said Norman Smyth, Dr Anton’s nephew. “It explained that conflicts were often caused by dissatisfaction that had an economic basis, and he became determined to understand economics better.”

After receiving his MA from the University of California Los Angeles, Dr Anton obtained his PhD from the University of London in 1962. He helped to set up the first Economics department at the new University of Calgary, was appointed its first head in 1967, and remained there until retirement 20 years later.

Dr Anton sought to use the wealth he acquired to support others who wished to succeed in economics. As such, upon his death in 2015 and in keeping with his wishes, his estate was shared between LSE and the University of Calgary. The Frank Anton Scholarship at LSE ensures a PhD Economics student in financial need is supported each year throughout their studies.

“Frank felt forever grateful to LSE for accepting him and giving him the good grounding in economics that enabled his future life to evolve,” said Norman. “Without LSE he could never have risen to become the founder of the University of Calgary’s Economics Department. He enjoyed interacting with students and helping them succeed, and he received tremendous satisfaction from contributing to a better understanding of economics.” 

He added: “Frank would be delighted to see that his legacy will continue in perpetuity, enabling others to achieve a career in economics.”

Professor Leonardo Felli, Head of the Department of Economics, said: “We are honoured and grateful for Dr Anton's generous gift. In a time when PhD funding is shrinking and assistance for this type of advanced studies is slowly dwindling, this form of generous support is exactly what allows us to maintain the outstanding quality of our PhD programme and encourage young and outstanding students to join the academic profession and advance the most important frontier research in economics.”