A Celebration of Life event is set for Saturday, July 7 at 2:00 p.m. in the Fireside Room of the Middleton Glen Retirement Community, located at 6720 Century Avenue, Middleton, Wisconsin.
Dorner devoted his career to defining the meaning of land tenure and its role in economic development. He laid out the concept of land tenure as the rights of rural families to own or control the place where they lived with land for food production and market sales. He wrote extensively about how these fundamental principles had to be woven into the political and economic institutions of the country.
Dorner grew up on a small dairy farm near Green Bay, WI. There it was common for farmers to band together to sell their produce cooperatively. In Latin America where the Land Tenure Center began, small farm operators were usually powerless; peasants had basically no land rights. Land and wealth were concentrated in the hands of political elites. Addressing measures for reforming those systems was considered revolutionary. Interest in these writings continues today.
The Land Tenure Center was established at UW-Madison in 1962 as part of president John F Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, a development program to aid Latin American countries. Dorner directed the first land tenure research and policy program in Chile from 1963 to 1965, returned to UW–Madison to direct of the Land Tenure Center from 1965-1966, and went on to serve on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. From 1972-1976 he was chair of the UW–Madison Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and 1980-89 dean of International Studies and Programs.
He earned a PhD from Harvard University in 1959 with a study of Native American land rights in the Southwest working under the direction of economist John Kenneth Galbraith.