Through a scholarship gift, Ray Hartman ’69 builds promising futures

Ray Hartman '69 stands beside the stone dragon he designed.

Raymond Hartman ’69 has taken up building dry-laid stone walls on his rural Massachusetts property. He started out following traditional patterns but then, with the help of masons, expanded possibilities of what the material could do to create a gigantic stone installation, a dragon the size of an SUV, and other exotic stone creations in the style of Spanish modernist Antoni Gaudi.

His legacy gift to Princeton similarly will help build a future for students who come from backgrounds like his, with the promise of expanding their possibilities.

Hartman is creating a scholarship for public school students that will be named for his parents, Raymond and Wanda Hartman. It unites two major influences in his life, his parents and Princeton, into one gift of gratitude.

“The years of college, that’s a time in one’s life when probably wherever you go, you’re inspired and you love it, but I’m glad my inspirations are from Princeton and nowhere else,” Hartman said. “I want to help others who may have may come from, or do come from, similar situations to what mine was, so they can make a decision that’s not contingent on whether they can afford it.”

A Strong Foundation

Hartman grew up in Chicago and attended a district-wide public high school where he excelled as valedictorian and class president. His father, a lithographer, had two years of high school education; his mother, whose parents emigrated from Europe, had none. The family didn’t own a car and lived modestly in what Hartman calls a “Jimmy Stewart ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’” way.

Hartman’s parents sacrificed so he and his sister both could attend college. “They said, ‘If you're really going to work hard in high school, we’re not going to expect you to work outside of school.’ And you know, they had to work hard to do that,” Hartman said.

A scholarship paid most of what allowed Hartman to attend Princeton — its serene setting and green-filled landscape an about-turn from his native city in Hartman’s recollection. “The scholarship made all the difference in my life,” he added. “And so to the extent that I can bring that to other students in similar situations, I want to do that, and honor the hard work that my parents put in to fund my ability to get to Princeton.”

Building a Life

Hartman majored in economics and remembers affectionately the department faculty members who took him under their wing, particularly Burton Malkiel, the Chemical Bank Chairman’s Professor of Economics, Emeritus, and economics lecturer James Litvack.

At his pre-pandemic 50th Reunion celebration, Hartman had the opportunity to speak to and dine with Malkiel and Litvack, with whom he had shared dinners during campus and post-graduate years. It was Malkiel and Litvack who helped him decide between law school and a Ph.D. in economics.

But over his career, Hartman has worked at the intersection of both fields. His firm, Greylock McKinnon Associates, provides expert economic analysis and testimony for domestic and international clients on subjects ranging from employment discrimination and patent infringement litigation to estimating damages in markets, including the pharmaceutical and energy industries.

He also has taught economics as a Boston University associate professor, taught law school students economics principles as a visiting associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and served as research faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his doctorate.

Once a voracious reader of fiction, with Henry James’s works a favorite, Hartman now is putting books aside to use his hands in crafting dry-laid stone walls on his rural property, the kind of rambling structures that recall Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall.”

But Hartman intersperses the understated New England-style versions with something more fanciful to greet and surprise his visitors: “I have a traditional stone wall which runs up along a driveway for about 200 yards. At that point, it arches up off the ground, returns to the ground as if burying itself, and then reemerges, connecting itself into the head of a dragon the size of an SUV.”

The metaphor of building is not lost on Hartman. He acknowledges the generosity of those donors who helped fund his education and hopes his legacy gift will do the same — inspire and build prospects for future Princetonians.