They trusted him. Kings, prime ministers, dedicated civil servants and a few of the world’s poorest folk trusted late CSU Professor Jerry Eckert, and together they worked to change the world.
Although he passed away in 2015, his legacy continues through the lives he touched and through the stories in his memoir, reminding us that one person can change the world.
Weeping Kings and Wild Boars; Moments of Magic and Sorrow in Forty Years Trying to save the World, a collection of memoir essays, tells their stories and Eckert’s from his decades as an overseas agricultural economist. A reigning monarch sat on a darkened veranda with him, shedding tears of frustration. In a single sentence, a teenage village girl taught Eckert the true meaning of poverty and human worth. Before her assassination, one of Lesotho’s royal family members worked quietly with him to help desegregate South Africa, thus linking that nation and hers. His life’s kaleidoscope was graced with remarkable people, powerful moments of change, unspeakable loss and glimpses into age-old cultures.
Eckert was a professor of agricultural economics at Colorado State University, where he taught and conducted research in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics from 1972 to 2005. In addition, he worked on many international projects that sent him to live in South Asia and southern Africa for more than 20 years. His work contributed to food grain self-sufficiency in Pakistan and The Gambia. In South Africa his research and writing spurred the apartheid government to accelerate change by creating a more inclusive middle class; he developed the framework for an interracial dialogue, ultimately leading to a new bill of rights in 1997; and Eckert helped develop an economic growth strategy for the incoming Mandela government.
Weeping Kings & Wild Boars, published by Hot Chocolate Press (April 2016), is available on Amazon in both print and digital formats.
Eckert’s wife, Betty Eckert, served as associate director and interim director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at CSU. More information about Jerry Eckert and his career is available in an August 2015 SOURCE article.