The economics department congregated today in one of the nicer rooms in the library to celebrate Lionel McKenzie's 90th birthday. I have previously attended university functions where there was free alcohol, but not free champagne. I'm told it was good stuff, though I'm not able to render judgment myself, as I'd never tried it before. Ron Jones - someone who's been here with McKenzie since 1957 - managed to sneak into his homily a citation to a study which ranked Rochester very highly in terms of top papers per graduate over some time frame. I wonder if that would be a suitable part of the program elsewhere.
Talked to a couple of the professors who are currently sorting through the pile of applications for the Ph.D. program. About half of them are from China, so 200 and change. We only have one Chinese professor here, so she gets stuck with preliminary evaluations over a lot of them. It's interesting how different professors care about different things - for example, one guy doesn't care at all about master's degrees.
Also, seems like Rochester will be attempting hires this year. At least, we plan on extending a few offers. As I understand, there's currently some debate in the department about whether the current contingent - 20 or so - is sufficient critical mass. I've heard rumours about bumping that up considerably, but I wouldn't put a ton of stock in that, since the body of students is just too small.
Flyouts for the prospective entrants will be late March, I'm looking forward to being on this side of the fence.