John Mikesell, 2002 recipient of the Aaron Wildavsky Award and Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of the O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, passed away September 12th at the age of 76. Dr. Mikesell’s six-decade career as an academic, researcher, author, and advisor in public finance is among the most diverse, impressive, and contributory to the field represented by ABFM.
“There is not a subfield of public finance and budgeting where one cannot find the reach of John’s work,” said Siân Mooney, Dean of the O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs in a statement.
Dr. Mikesell was a relentless researcher on a variety of public finance topics, constantly publishing numerous articles and presenting at multiple conferences. He was the author of six books, and he is best known as the author of Fiscal Administration, Analysis and Applications for the Public Sector, a standard text for graduate-level study of public finance and budgeting.
“John Mikesell was a scholar’s scholar, epitomizing the academic ideal of the uncompromising pursuit of the truth for the betterment of the public,” said Justin Ross, Chair of Policy Analysis and Public Finance for the O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs. “He was invaluable to those in his orbit for his honest assessments, sage advice, and, above all else, friendship.”
Dr. Mikesell also worked directly with all levels of government. He served three decades with the Indiana State Revenue Forecast Technical Committee, preparing estimates of state revenues. He also served on seven missions for the World Bank, and as Chief Fiscal Economist in a fiscal reform team assisting Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance. His service to Indiana University, where he served on faculty from 1973 to 2016, included roles as chair of the economics and finance faculty, MPA director, director of international public administration partnerships, director of professional graduate programs, and associate dean for academic affairs.
“He was a good friend and a great scholar, teacher and mentor,” said Sarah Larson, former student of Dr. Mikesell’s and Assistant Professor, School of Public Administration, University of Central Florida. “His presence in the field and my life will be missed.”
ABFM will honor this giant of our field during a special session, “Life, Work, and Legacy of John Mikesell,” at our upcoming Annual Conference on Thursday, September 26th, 4:45 p.m., in Quads 1-3 of the Washington Marriott Georgetown.