Campus Life

Texas A&M Mourns Loss Of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Thomas Saving

Among his career distinctions, Saving was appointed by two U.S. presidents as a public trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.
By Shana K. Hutchins, Texas A&M University College of Arts and Sciences March 14, 2024


Dr. Thomas Saving, Texas A&M Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, 1933-2024
Dr. Thomas Saving, Texas A&M Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, 1933-2024

The Independent Institute

Dr. Thomas R. Saving, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics and Director Emeritus of the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University, died Tuesday (March 12). He was 90.

A celebration of life is set for 2 p.m. on April 21 at Hillier Funeral Home of College Station for Saving, an expert in monetary policy and healthcare economics who earned national renown for his work with Social Security and Medicare. He was recruited to Texas A&M in 1968 as a professor in the Department of Economics, where he later served as head from 1985 to 1991. Saving was appointed as a university distinguished professor in 1989 and was director of the Private Enterprise Research Center and Jeff Montgomery Professor of Economics at Texas A&M for more than a quarter century (1991-2017).

“His was a long and distinguished career,” said Dr. Steven L. Puller, professor and head of Texas A&M Economics. “He continued working on monetary policy issues until his recent hospitalization. He will be missed.”

Saving, who grew up in Chicago, received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1960. Prior to joining the economics faculty at Texas A&M, he was on the faculty at the University of Washington (1960-1961) and Michigan State University (1961-1968), where he attained the rank of full professor in 1966, only six years after earning his Ph.D.

Saving was appointed by two U.S. presidents — Bill Clinton in 2000 and George W. Bush in 2001 — as a public trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, an appointment he held until 2007. He also served on President Bush’s bipartisan President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. He has testified before congressional committees and other agencies on numerous occasions regarding Medicare and Medicaid policy and reform, Social Security, and rising healthcare costs and related consequences.

“Tom was an amazing colleague and good friend,” said Texas A&M Professor of Economics Dr. Dennis Jansen, who succeeded Saving as director of the Private Enterprise Research Center. “He had a long and productive life; he loved his work and continued it until the end. His influence on monetary economics and on the possibilities of reform to Social Security and Medicare continues to be felt to this day.”

Throughout his distinguished six-decade career in academia, Saving served as a consultant for a host of corporations, agencies and associations across various industrial and economic sectors, from the Federal Trade Commission and the Institute for Defense Analyses, to Ford Motor Company and the General Motors Corporation, to the American Medical Association and National Institutes of Health. His lengthy record of professional service has included presidential stints with the Association of Private Enterprise Education (2001-2002), the Southern Economic Association (1980-1981) and the Western Economic Association (1971-1972). Most recently in November, Saving was honored by the SEA as one of its inaugural Distinguished Fellows in recognition of his substantial record of exceptional scholarly achievement and long-term involvement and service to the SEA. He was also listed in Who’s Who in Economics, 3rd Edition.

Tom and Barbara Saving
Tom and Barbara Saving

Courtesy photo


In addition to hundreds of publications, papers and reports, Saving has authored, co-authored or co-edited six books: Money, Wealth and Economic Theory (Macmillan, 1967), which has been reprinted in both Chinese and Spanish, and Foundations of Money and Banking (Macmillan, 1968) with Boris P. Pesek; Medicare Reform: Issues and Answers (University of Chicago Press, 1999), The Economics of Medicare Reform (W.E. Upjohn Institute, 2000) and The Diagnosis and Treatment of Medicare (AEI Press, 2007) with Andrew J. Rettenmaier; and Live Free and Prosper (Amazon, 2015). A longtime editor (1977-81) and co-editor (1997-2006) for Economic Inquiry and associate editor for the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (1983-2002), he has published in all major U.S. economics journals and written many editorials that have appeared in The New York TimesLos Angeles TimesWashington Post and Wall Street Journal.

Saving is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara, and their two children, daughter Nicole Saving Youngblood (Ralph Jr.) and son Jason L. Saving (Tanya), as well as their five grandchildren, Blake Youngblood (Kayla), Logan Youngblood, Mark Saving, Amanda Saving and Emma Saving.

In lieu of flowers or other offerings, memorial donations may be made to the Aggieland Humane Society in Bryan or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Memories and tributes also may be shared online via Hillier Funeral Home’s website.

Related Stories

Recent Stories