If there’s one thing Lee Hamilton doesn’t need, it is practice. For 34 years, he was a leader in Congress and since leaving the House of Representatives has served as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission and director of Indiana University’s Center on Congress, housed at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Lee Hamilton, in short, is one of the most influential and important figures in American politics and government in the last half-century.
Now, his ties to SPEA are growing stronger with his official appointment by IU President Michael M. McRobbie as a Professor of Practice at SPEA.
“I’m going to have to learn what it means to be a Professor of Practice but what I know already is that this will give me more opportunities to work with SPEA’s talented faculty and its bright and civic-minded students. I’m really looking forward to that,” Hamilton said.
To fulfill his academic title as a Professor of Practice, Hamilton will lead classes at SPEA and have more formalized interaction with students and faculty. Hamilton, 81, will also be assuming new duties as a Distinguished Scholar at IU’s new School of Global and International Studies.
“He will serve as an enormous asset for our students as well as our faculty studying all aspects of international affairs and foreign policy, as well as for IU, as a whole, as we seek to continue to grow and strengthen our presence around the globe,” McRobbie said at an event to announce Hamilton’s expanded responsibilities on the Bloomington campus.
Hamilton has been a friendly and engaging presence in SPEA’s hallways since the Center on Congress was founded in 1999. Its mission is non-partisan outreach to an American public that Hamilton believes has an insufficient understanding of Congress and its impact on our lives. His columns and op-eds on Congressional issues reach millions of readers around the country and the Center’s educational programs touch scores of students.
“I’m grateful to President McRobbie, Dean John Graham and Executive Associate Dean David Reingold for making this appointment possible,” Hamilton said. “The Center’s offices are already in SPEA and I have a long association with the School; this appointment will deepen that connection and provide exciting challenges.”
“Lee Hamilton will help our students understand how the U.S. government works, how the world works and how both can work better,” Reingold said. “As he was for decades, Lee remains a powerful and respected figure in Washington and in foreign capitals. His keen knowledge and gentle sense of humor and his desire to teach and advise our students will serve SPEA well.”