Nobel Prize Winner Leaves Medal, Generous Gift to MTSU

May 10, 2013

Jeff Whorley glances at a photo of his late uncle, Nobel laureate and MTSU alumnus James M. Buchanan, during a celebration Thursday afternoon of Dr. Buchanan’s life outside the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.
Credit MTSU photos by J. Intintoli

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A Nobel Prize medal has found a new home here in Middle Tennessee.

Thursday afternoon the family of the late Nobel Laureate James M. Buchanan presented his 1986 Nobel medal in economics to Middle Tennessee State University.

Buchanan was a Tennessee native and 1940 graduate of then Middle Tennessee State Teacher’s College. He went on to do ground-breaking research at the intersection of economics and politics.

Dr. Barbara S. Haskew, a former MTSU Provost, was among those lauding Buchanan in Thursday’s ceremony.

“Buchanan was passionate in his belief that students from backgrounds such as his should be encouraged to reach as high as they can. If a boy from Gum - the community where he grew up - and MTSU can win a Nobel Prize, then so can others he was very fond of saying.”

In addition to arranging for his Nobel medal to reside at MTSU as a permanent loan, Buchanan also left a $2.5 million bequest to the University’s Honors College.

Dr. James M. Buchanan died Jan. 9 in Blacksburg, Va., at the age of 93.