Feb. 12, 2007 — The University of Virginia has announced the creation of the James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professorship at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. Schlesinger, who taught at U.Va. from 1955 to 1963, twice served as a Cabinet secretary, in addition to holding leadership roles with the Central Intelligence Agency, Atomic Energy Agency and numerous other government bodies during a distinguished career in public service.
Building on Schlesinger’s interest in strategic theory, the Schlesinger Professorship will provide a unique place for public servants and scholars who have experience with national issues including foreign policy or national security to participate in the academic programs at the Miller Center, teach courses at the University and produce significant independent research.
“The Schlesinger Professor will be a great asset to both the Miller Center and the University of Virginia,” said Gerald L. Baliles, director of the Miller Center and former governor of Virginia. “It represents an extraordinary opportunity for scholars and public servants to use their real-world experience with matters of national importance, engage in dialogue with students and conduct research.”
The Schlesinger Professorship marks a strengthening of Schlesinger’s ties to the University of Virginia. He published his first book, “The Political Economy of National Security” in 1960 while teaching economics at the University. His second book, “America at Century's End,” was published in 1989.
“Mr. Schlesinger has had a long and distinguished career as an academic, a public servant, and as an author, advisor and consultant,” U.Va. President John T. Casteen III said while announcing the professorship at the Feb. 9 meeting of the U.Va. Board of Visitors. “He has reported directly to three presidents and served as the highest levels of the United States government. His career embodies the ideals of public service in this country.”
Schlesinger’s expertise on budget and energy matters led him to the public sector, where he has served several presidents. He served as the nation’s first Secretary of Energy from 1977 to 1979, after President Carter charged him with drafting a plan to establish both the Department of Energy and a national energy policy. Schlesinger earlier served as Secretary of Defense during the Nixon administration from 1973 to 1975, and before that served as Director of Central Intelligence. From 1971 to 1973, he was chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and was a consultant to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and to the Bureau of the Budget.
Currently chairman of MITRE’s Board of Trustees and senior advisor to the investment banking firm of Lehman Brothers, Schlesinger is also a consultant to the Departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security, and a member of the Defense Policy Board, the International Security Advisory Board and the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He has also served on many government commissions and advisory groups, has been awarded eleven honorary doctorates and is the recipient of numerous medals for distinguished public service.
Schlesinger received a Bachelor of Arts degree (1950) from Harvard College and his Master of Arts (1952) and doctoral degrees from Harvard University (1956).
Founded in 1975, the Miller Center of Public Affairs is a leading nonpartisan public policy institution that aims to fulfill Thomas Jefferson’s public service mission by serving as a national meeting place for engaged citizens, scholars, students, media representatives and government officials to research, reflect and report on issues of national importance to the governance of the United States, with special attention to the central role and history of the presidency.