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Bob Hartwig

Bob Hartwig

Finance professor | U of South Carolina | Class of 1988

You haven’t seen the UI campus until you’ve seen it on a cold, dark, peaceful December night.

Take it from South Carolina finance professor and past Insurance Information Institute president Bob Hartwig (MS ’88, Ph.D. ’92), who won't soon forget the sight that awaited him when he stepped outside on Christmas Eve 1987.

“Back in the late 1980s when I was an economics Ph.D. student, an old oak desk in the dark and dingy basement of David Kinley Hall served as my office. It was there that I spent countless hours studying for Ph.D. qualifier exams.

“But I remember one night more than any other. With one of my exams scheduled for mid-January, I decided to stay on campus for the entirety of winter break to study 12 hours per day. I must say that I had never before experienced such solitude, quiet and isolation. Not a soul, not a sound were to be seen or heard all day. 

“As I finished studying for the evening, I was struck not only by the desolation of campus that cold, dark December evening, but also by its stark beauty as snow fell lightly, silently amid the pale light cast by distant streetlamps. I walked the campus for nearly an hour, alone, encountering no one. It seemed I had the entire university to myself. Yet somehow, the experience did not seem like a lonely one.

“I felt fortunate to have seen the university in a way that few ever have — in hibernation, patiently awaiting the warmth and energy of its denizens, who for a few short weeks had scattered to the far corners of the globe.”