The Mihaylo College community joins all of Cal State Fullerton, Orange County and the broader economics field in mourning the death of David C. Wong, professor and chair emeritus of economics, who passed away on July 16, at age 71. He is survived by his family, including his wife, Kathy.
Wong earned his undergraduate degree from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, before receiving a master’s and Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
He joined the faculty of Cal State Fullerton’s Department of Economics in 1981 and went on to teach generations of students in undergraduate coursework involving intermediate business microeconomics, intermediate microeconomic analysis, mathematical economics, and graduate courses on microeconomics. Wong gained emeritus status in 2015.
Mihaylo College Dean and Economics Professor Morteza Rahmatian paid tribute to Wong as a friend and professional.
“I have known David since 1988 when I joined the Department of Economics as a new faculty member,” says Rahmatian. “David was a great friend and a mentor. When I first became the department chair in 2004, David was there when I needed him. He was kind, patient and gracious with his time and wisdom. David was unique, and he will be missed.”
“David was a real scholar and a man of high integrity,” said Anil Puri, provost emeritus and longtime dean of Mihaylo College. “He was one of a kind in his wit and humor and he enriched our lives in his unique way. He will be missed by everyone who spent even a little time with him.”
Chiara Gratton-Lavoie, an economics lecturer, considered Wong invaluable in her professional development as a member of the college’s faculty. “Over the years, I have learned from David a great deal, and I have witnessed, many times over, his profound, unshakable, ingrained practice of high integrity,” she says.
At the time of his death, Wong was an engaged and active member of the Mihaylo College faculty community.
“He was very proud of his accomplishments as a teacher and scholar. His last words to me were ‘keep studying,’” recollects Andrew Gill, a veteran professor of economics. “I plan to do just that. David has been part of my life for many years. He was a mentor and a dear friend. I will miss him.”
Wong enjoyed reggae music, singing, dancing and the Latin language, incorporating Latin phrases in his email messages.
It is with great sorrow that Mihaylo College says goodbye to this great professor, instructor, colleague, friend, mentor and leader.