A colleague’s retirement: a tribute to Erik de Regt

After a fruitful career spanning 35 years at Maastricht University's School of Business and Economics, Dr. Erik de Regt has retired this month. Erik joined our School in 1986 and has made valuable contributions over the years, as a researcher, teacher, course coordinator and most recently as the Chair of the Board of Examiners. We would like to thank him for his dedication and valuable service to our School. 

This article was written by one of Erik's long-time colleagues Professor Joan Muysken on behalf of his department: Macro, International & Labour Economics (MILE). 

Erik is amongst the first generation of SBE-employees, starting to work in Maastricht in 1986. He was attracted to Maastricht because of the new environment with the challenging task to participate in the creation of a new faculty of Economics and Business in The Netherlands, with a new teaching system and an interdisciplinary focus. The other reason was that he was very much interested in labour economics, which was one of the three main research topics of that new faculty.

His broad interest in economics immediately manifested itself in the fact that he did not want to choose between microeconomics or macroeconomics as his working environment. He therefore joined both sections and maintained that position for more than 20 years. He was always very active in attending seminars on all topics, participating in discussions, constructive in his comments and well read on the recent literature. This attitude also manifested itself in his teaching and supervision of numerous theses on all kinds of topics.

We have never understood why he did not use his talents to publish more actively. Many colleagues consulted him frequently when they had research problems, but he chose to stay in the background. Therefore, his career focussed much more on teaching and administration. He was a very conscientious and reliable colleague in both directions. Given his broad orientation, he coordinated many courses and challenged students consistently to participate actively at a high level. Next to that, he had many administrative positions, both at the department level and faculty wise.  The crown on his career in that respect is that he became chair of the Board of Examiners in 2015. (Earlier he obtained a certificate as referee for golf tournaments). Because of his widely recognised excellent performance, he remained in the chair position till his retirement.

Overall, we are sorry to see a very well-regarded colleague leave, who has contributed so much to our faculty. However, we also wish him a very well deserved retirement, with many opportunities to play golf, visit his grandchildren, enjoy stays in Switzerland and maybe occasionally drop in at the faculty.

By Joan Muysken on behalf of the SBE department of Macro, International & Labour Economics

Additional retirement tributes from some of Erik's colleagues: 

"The role of the chair of the Board of Examiners (BoE) is fraught with resolving dilemmas. If all the issues were black or white, then it would be easy – and we wouldn’t need a person of Erik’s stature to fill the role. Erik epitomizes the chair of the BoE with all the integrity needed to resolve the dilemmas in the grey area to the benefit of our academic quality. In that capacity, he has been an important institution at SBE. It has been a pleasure working with him." - Peter Møllgaard, Dean of SBE

"Erik is a very authentic person, something I value a lot. He shows full dedication to his work, and he has a real interest in the people around him. To me, he is a real people’s person. There was always time for a chat about almost everything. I will miss that!" - Trudie Schils, Professor, MILE department

"I have known Erik de Regt ever since I was a student at Maastricht University in the 90s and since he has been one of the pillars under the current MILE department at SBE. It was great to have had him as a colleague for only a few more months before his retirement when I returned to Maastricht last year. In strange COVID-times he was part of feeling at home. I wish him all the best in this new stage in his life and how we will still see a lot of him in spite of his well-earned retirement." - Mark Sanders, Professor, MILE

"Erik has been a very knowledgable colleague, always ready to answer questions about research and teaching, and yes, about exams rules and regulations. He has not only taught many students, but also many colleagues have learned a lot from him. A very pleasant person and colleague to work with." - Tom Van Veen, Professor, MILE

“Erik is a real treasure to the School. As a mentor to the younger (and not so young) staff, he offers the perfect balance of experience and good judgement in his counsel.  What I value most about our chats is his courage to make empathy an active part of the decision-making process. He will leave very large shoes to fill…” - Giulia Piccillo, Assistant Professor

"I experienced the collaboration with Erik as very pleasant. You always received a thorough answer to all your questions, whether it was about education or other work-related matters, Erik was always able to help: his door was open to everyone. He is also genuinely interested in his colleagues. We would all like to have such a colleague." - Silvana de Sanctis, Secretary of the MILE department

"I can only mention that Erik has been a great chair to work with. He could be very critical on processes and procedures but always in a constructive way. It was great to see him visiting the exams administration once in a while – even in covid times – to check whether the diplomas that are being issued by SBE actually met the standards set by the BoE and that graduation requirements were met. He did so by taking samples and meticulously  checking grade lists and student files.  Furthermore, when deciding in cases, he always tried to find the balance between the individual student and the population and organization as a whole. He really set a new standard." - Joel Castermans, head of SBE's Education & Exams Office

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