Wilson readily agreed, and Peppers’ desktop
computer became the talk of campus. Within two years,
everyone on the C-School’s faculty had made room on
their desks for the new machines.
Peppers had returned to a career in academia by
way of industry. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from
Vanderbilt and taught for three years before going to
work for Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Nebraska.
The company needed an economist to start a forecasting
group, and Peppers hired and led a team of statisticians
and econometricians who developed models to predict
the volume of rail freight traffic.
He found the work interesting, but Peppers wanted to
spend more time with his wife, Fran, and their two small
children, Todd and Susan. He had taught night classes
at nearby Creighton University, so when the university
extended him a full-time, tenure-track offer, he returned
to teaching and continued his economic-forecasting
work as a consultant. Before long, he became chair of
Creighton’s economics and finance department.
on 29 Years
at the Williams
Larry Peppers is only the fifth dean in the history of the Williams School.
He presided over the school’s centennial in 2006.
When Larry Peppers accepted the job as dean of the Commerce School in 1986,
he had one demand — a personal computer waiting on his desk when he arrived.
“There wasn’t a computer in the whole building. I told President Wilson
I wasn’t coming unless I got one,” says Peppers, laughing.