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Two long-time faculty members die

Ronald Britto, 72, professor emeritus of economics, and David Shapiro, 66, associate professor emeritus of art, died in the last week of November.

Britto, who joined the Department of Economics faculty at Binghamton in 1974 and retired as a Bartle professor in 2007, was educated in Pakistan, Germany and the U.S.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Patrick’s College in Karachi, Pakistan; his Diplom-Volkswirt from Heidelberg University in West Germany; and his PhD from Brown University. Before coming to Binghamton, Britto taught at Tufts University and the University of California at Los Angeles. He was also a Fulbright lecturer at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania.

Britto specialized in macroeconomic theory, business cycles and risk and uncertainty.
He was a private person who did a lot of work recruiting new faculty and working with graduate students, said Edward Kokkelenberg, Bartle professor of economics.

“He taught in the graduate sequence until he retired and he was quite involved in their education,” Kokkelenberg said

Charles Bischoff, professor emeritus of economics, said he and Britto were interested in the same subject matter.

“One of the reasons I came here was because he and I had done similar dissertation topics in the 1960s on different types of capital called putty clay capital. It has to do with the idea that you can substitute capital for labor before it is put into place, but not afterwards.

“He was a good teacher and he was a very caring supervisor,” Bischoff said.
Britto is survived by one daughter and son-in-law. No services are planned at this time.

Shapiro studied with Phillip Guston, David Hare and Leland Bell at the Studio School in New York City and was then awarded a prestigious Prix de Rome scholarship for painting and drawing, allowing him to immerse himself in art with other artists at the Academy of France in Rome. He joined the Binghamton faculty in 1973 and retired in 2005.

Donald DeMauro, associate professor of art, said Shapiro taught painting and drawing on campus and was quite outgoing. “It’s hard to put David into words,” he said. “He was so unique. A perfect conversationalist and funny. You don’t very often meet someone like him.”

Adjunct lecturer Kathryn Niles added, “David was a wonderful painter who was always ready with a smile and a cheerful comment for everyone.”

Shapiro has left behind “an incredible body of work” according to DeMauro, who hopes to plan an exhibition or celebration of Shapiro’s life and work in the future.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08