Former Humphrey Institute dean dies

Edward Schuh was a regents professor and made an international impact with his work.

George Edward Schuh, a former dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute, died Sunday from complications after a May 1 open-heart surgery. He was 77.

Schuh was dean of the school for 10 years until 1997, named a regents professor in 1998 and retired from the University last year. Although he left the University, his son-in-law David Moore said he never retired from his work.

Schuh’s passionate work in economics and agriculture took him to the top of his field at home and abroad. He served as deputy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Carter administration, as director of agricultural and rural development at the World Bank from 1984-1987 and was awarded Brazil’s highest scientific honor in 2006.

“He always wanted to improve the human condition, and I think that’s what his life’s work was about,” Moore said.

Humphrey Institute dean Brian Atwood said Schuh came from Purdue University as an applied economics professor and rose to the top of the applied economics department and the Humphrey Institute. Of all his awards, Atwood said Schuh held the title of regents professor as one of his most dear because of his connection to students.

“Every time he taught a class here – and he taught a lot – the class would end up giving him a standing ovation,” Atwood said. “I think of all the things I remember about him, it was the care he had for students.”

Schuh had an especially strong connection with international students, Atwood said, adding that many would often go to Schuh’s home to visit him and his wife.

Atwood said Schuh was a personal mentor to him and had had a strong impact on the Humphrey Institute. During his tenure, Atwood said Schuh put a strong emphasis on bringing in faculty familiar with economics and public service research.

“A lot of what is now taken for granted here, he helped create,” Atwood said.

Throughout his life, Schuh played many key roles in the international community and the United States, such as a place in the U.S. delegation that negotiated the first trade agreement with China, and he had an extensive relationship with Brazil.

Schuh was interested in Brazil from a young age and had a strong influence in the country’s higher education. He helped assist the development of the Federal University of Viçosa, taught as a professor at the University of São Paulo and contributed to the growth of a national agricultural research system.

Through his efforts in Brazil, Schuh met his wife, Maria Ignez Angeli Schuh, and earned the country’s highest scientific award, the National Order of Scientific Merit.

Even at an old age, Atwood said Schuh never slowed down.

“He would travel from Africa to China practically without stopping,” he said. “He was in perpetual motion and much in demand.”