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By Alicia A. Caldwell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 14, 1997

Czech Prime Minister visits campus, gets honorary degree


Robert Henry Becker
Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Czech Republic Prime Minister, Vaclav Klaus, receives an honorary doctorate by (from right) UA President Peter Likins and Terence Burke, associate to the president. Klaus was honored for his role in encouraging free market economic reform as the Czech Republic emerged from the throes of Communism. Students and Business and Public Administration college representatives attended the recognition yesterday afternoon.

The UA business college gave the visiting Czech Republic prime minister an honorary doctorate yesterday as he stopped by campus during a trip through Arizona.

Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus was awarded the distinction for his work in developing a free market Czech economy since Communism fell in the former East Bloc nation.

"There is no such thing as free reform," Klaus told the crowd of about 50 in a 1:30 p.m. McClelland Hall ceremony.

"These costs must be paid at home by all, either victims or exponents of Communism," he added.

Klaus finally received the honorary University of Arizona diploma after the Faculty Senate nominated him two years ago.

He only now had the chance to visit the university to receive the honor, which coincided with his U.S. trip to discuss possible Czech Republic membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

While in Phoenix, Klaus also received the Goldwater Medal for Economic Freedom Wednesday.

Klaus, who briefly studied economics in the United States, said many of his economic reforms came from ideas generated within the UA and the Public Choice School of economic science, founded in part by UA economics professor Gordon Tullock.

Tullock was instrumental in bringing Klaus to Tucson for the award.

"In the darkest Communist days it was impossible for me to get news magazines like Time and Newsweek," Klaus said. "I could read scientific journals."

Some journals he read contained UA articles.

The Czech prime minister was joined on College of Business and Public Administration stage by UA President Peter Likins, his assistant, Terence Burke, and a several UA and Czech government officials.

Likins said he was impressed with Klaus and his work on the Czech economy.

"I think there are few people in the world today we could recognize (for economic achievements) like Prime Minister Klaus," Likins said. "It says a lot about Klaus (that he searched out the scientific journals)."

Mark Zupan, business college dean, said only two or three people are given this type of honor by the UA a year.

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