Former Fed Spokesman Speaks Up for GSAS
As troublesome as today’s economy is, it’s not as bad as the economic crisis of the late 1970s and 1980s, when Joseph R. Coyne, GSAS ’59, served as spokesman for the Federal Reserve Board. High interest rates stirred some of the fiercest political attacks the Fed had ever experienced. At one protest, an angry group of consumer activists stormed the Fed and demanded to see Reserve Chairperson Paul Volcker.
Coyne quickly arranged for a small group to meet with Volcker, and later helped organize a series of meetings with consumer groups throughout the country to outline the Fed’s plan of attack on inflation. In the process, he ushered in a new era of greater transparency and civic-mindedness for the Fed.
Decades later, the man who once spoke for Paul Volcker and, later, Alan Greenspan, is now an influential voice for Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Advisory Board.
Established in 2004, the board meets regularly to outline ideas and initiatives to bolster GSAS’s position as the intellectual heart and soul of Fordham University. The recent addition of Coyne is a boon to the board’s long-term plans.
A graduate of the University of Scranton, Coyne earned his master’s degree from GSAS’ department of communication in 1959. He credits Fordham for much of his professional success.
“Everything I learned at Fordham proved to be very valuable in my later work,” Coyne said. “Fordham really helped me in my life.”
After graduating, Coyne worked as a reporter for the Associated Press in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. After a staff shuffle in D.C., Coyne was offered the chance to work on the financial beat, and soon began reporting on the economic policies of financial organizations and systems like the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve. Later, he took a position at the Central Bank, which was, for Coyne, a much more interesting place to work.
With inflation hovering in the double-digits, Coyne stepped into the economic maelstrom, trying to assuage the American public’s growing concern.
“It wasn’t a job, it was an adventure,” he said. Although he still monitors the Fed from time to time, he won’t comment publicly on their policies or offer prognostications on the economy.
“I had my fling,” he said. “I’ll let them do what they need to do.”
He is more than happy, though, to offer his opinions and advice as part of the GSAS Advisory Board. So far, he says, his involvement with the board hasn’t been quite as contentious as his tenure with the Fed.
“It’s a good crowd,” he joked before the board’s most recent meeting on April 16. “Although we’re still in the preliminary stages, it’s slowly coming into focus. I’m happy to be a part of the group.”
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