Professor Ron Shaffer

Professor Ron Shaffer, CCED Director 1990-2000

Ron Shaffer served as the founding director of the Center (appointed by CNRED Program Leader Ayse Somersan) from its establishment date until he resigned in July, 2000.


In 1980, Ron Shaffer and Glen Pulver jointly developed an educational model to help communities formally plan their economic futures – the Community Economic Analysis (CEA). CEA programs were conducted in 150 Wisconsin communities and Ron and Glen received the Extension award for their CEA in 1985 from the American Agricultural Economics Association. In 2001, Ron was the initial recipient of the Research Award from the Community Development Society International. In addition to being the first director of the CCED, Ron was appointed as director of the National Rural Economic Development Institute (an initiative under President George H. W. Bush) in 1990. With Ron’s careful leadership, 39 states formed State Rural Development Councils. The Institute trained and encouraged council leaders to identify actions that would improve the well being of rural residents, gain consensus on priorities, and achieve results through cooperation among federal, state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. Ron was Institute director for eight years. In 2001, the National Rural Development Partnership established the Ron Shaffer Award given annually for outstanding collaboration in rural America. In addition, Ron was a founding member and long time board member of Wisconsin Rural Partners. Ron valiantly endured a long struggle with ALS and passed peacefully on March 4, 2005 at his home in Middleton, Wisconsin.

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