Cambridge, MA — The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University is pleased to announce the establishment of the James R. Schlesinger Professorship of Energy, National Security, and Foreign Policy, an endowed professorship honoring one of the most accomplished public servants of our time. The professorship, which was funded by Schlesinger friends and admirers from around the world, including a generous gift from MeiLi and Robert A. Hefner III, will focus on contemporary policy issues, with an emphasis on foreign policy, defense, strategy, energy, and intelligence.
Schlesinger, a Harvard alumnus (AB 1950, AM 1952, PhD 1956) who helped shape American security policies for more than four decades, served the United States as secretary of defense, secretary of energy, director of Central Intelligence and chair of the Atomic Energy Commission. Since leaving his cabinet-level positions, he continues to answer the call of public service, most recently chairing the Commission to Investigate the Department of Defense’s Treatment of Detainees and vice chairing the Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States. At Harvard, Schlesinger served on the Board of Overseers and chaired its visiting committees to both Harvard Kennedy School and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He also serves as chair of the International Council at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
“Jim Schlesinger is a monumental figure in American foreign and energy policy,” says David T. Ellwood, dean and Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy, Harvard Kennedy School. “Harvard is honored that his friends have chosen to recognize his considerable impact on American foreign and energy policy through this professorship.”
“Jim Schlesinger has been a great son of Harvard and a great inspiration for those of us who have had the honor to work with him,” says Graham Allison, director of the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Douglas Dillon Professor of Government. “Who could better symbolize ‘energy and national security’ than the first secretary of energy and one of two people ever to serve as both director of CIA and secretary of defense?”
Robert A. Hefner III, who is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ International Council, says, “Jim’s brilliant career in energy, national security, and foreign policy has given him unique insight into the truth that one cannot effectively deal with one of these areas in isolation and without full understanding of the other two.” He and his wife, MeiLi, were the lead contributors to the professorship because they believe, “It is abundantly fitting that this professorship holds his prestigious name.”
Harvard Kennedy School maintains an abiding commitment to advancing the public interest by training skilled, enlightened leaders and solving public problems through world-class scholarship and active engagement with practitioners and decision makers. The School offers the depth, reflection, insight, and excellence of ideas and teaching that can shape future leaders, affect public policies, and make an impact on people and their daily lives.