Mourning the Passing of Rebecca Morton

September 27, 2020

Dear members of the NYU Abu Dhabi community,

With great sadness we let you know that our dear colleague and teacher Rebecca Morton has passed away after a short illness.

Becky joined NYU Abu Dhabi full time in 2013, having supported our young institution early on as a Professor in NYU’s Politics Department in New York and through several semesters as an affiliated faculty member with NYUAD. She was an extraordinary academic leader for the development of research and teaching in the social sciences at NYUAD, serving as Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Development, Program Head of Political Science, and Global Network Professor of Politics and Economics. Becky was the founding Director of the Social Science Experimental Laboratory at NYUAD, one of her proudest creations. Her unfailing commitment to nurturing early career scholars was epitomized in the postdoctoral program in the social science division, which she led as director until the beginning of fall. Becky’s intellectual engagement with colleagues, students, and our postdoctoral fellows helped forge a lively and successful research community in social science.

Becky Morton was an outstanding scholar whose work ranged across economics and political science. Committed to interdisciplinary inquiry, she was the author and co-author of four books and numerous articles in prominent economics and political science journals, such as the American Economic Review, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Politics, and Review of Economic Studies.

She received her BS and MPA from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and her PhD in Economics from Tulane University, New Orleans.

While Becky was a dedicated teacher and researcher, she also knew the value of coming together socially with colleagues and friends. Her Mardi Gras get-togethers, which she began hosting years ago in Sama Tower, were renowned, and just one of the many contributions she made to welcoming and integrating many members of our community.

We are in touch with Becky’s family and are offering our assistance at this very sad time. We appreciate that many community members will want to send condolences and we will share information on how to do so as soon as we know more.

We send profound condolences to Becky’s family, to her colleagues and advisees at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU in New York, and to the countless other students, faculty, and staff whose lives she touched across her remarkable career. Becky leaves a very large hole in our community and in our hearts.

The sudden loss of a colleague, mentor, teacher, and friend is difficult. Students who feel they may need additional support may access 24/7 counseling services through NYU's Wellness Exchange (+971-02-628-5555) or by contacting the NYUAD Health Center (+971-02-628-8124 or to schedule an appointment.

For faculty and staff who would find it helpful to speak with a counselor about this loss, the NYUAD Employee Well-Being Program offers support to all NYUAD employees and their family members. Employees can also utilize the offerings from Lighthouse Arabia, outlined here.

We will plan a remembrance gathering for Becky at a later date and will share additional details with the community when we have more information.

In deepest sorrow and sympathy,
Mariët Westermann and Arlie Petters