Doctoral candidate remembered

January 28, 2014
Travis Raines

Bell Ringing

A promising doctoral student at the College of Business and Economics died on Dec. 25.

Shane Travis Raines died suddenly at the age of 37. He grew up in Cross Lanes and his family said he excelled at all things academic and athletic, enjoying coaching and refereeing. He also loved math and science. He graduated from Nitro High School in 1994 Summa Cum Laude. He attended the University of Missouri-Rolla and WVU, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1998 from WVU with a double bachelor's degree in math and economics.

Raines had recently returned to school, entering the Ph.D. program in economics in August.  His graduate advisor, Brad Humphreys, remembers him as "the best."

"Travis Raines was my teaching assistant in ECON 202 in the fall semester. Travis was an outstanding teaching assistant. He cared deeply about our students in ECON 202 and always went the extra mile to make sure that questions were answered and problems were addressed," Dr. Humphreys said.

Raines always held extra help sessions before exams and made himself available to students in person and via Twitter and other social media. "I have been teaching at the university level for 25 years, and he was, by a substantial margin, the best TA I ever worked with," Humphreys said.

Humphreys, who earned his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins, said Raines had "a very bright future ahead of him as a teacher and scholar."

"He exemplified the best that West Virginia University and the state of West Virginia has to offer. His tragic death is a loss to the Department of Economics, the College of Business and Economics, the University and the entire WVU family. Those of us lucky enough to know him should also take time to celebrate the way that Travis touched each of our lives and made WVU a better place."

WVU honored Raines with a traditional ringing of the USS West Virginia memorial bell on Jan. 17, sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

Raines was active in all aspects of college, notably National Residence Hall Association and Economics Club. He published on game theory with Dr. Russell Sobel.

Dr. Clifford Hawley, chairperson of economics said the department was "stunned" by the death.
"All of us were excited that Travis chose to return to WVU Economics," he said. "Travis was to teach for us beginning next summer. We will miss his talent, his friendliness and his easy-going disposition."