Admiral William Crowe, who served as Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Reagan, will join the faculty of GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs this week.
Crowe’s appointment as the Shapiro Visiting Professor of International Affairs promises to bring a vast reserve of knowledge and experience to the University, Thomas Bleha said, the Elliott School’s director of external affairs.
“We are very fortunate to have him,” Bleha said. “For most people, it’s something to get close to the top in any one profession. For him, to do it in four professions makes him one of the most extraordinary members of his generation.”
Bleha said Crowe will teach a one-credit graduate course this semester on the role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in policy making.
Crowe said he hopes to teach a more comprehensive course in the spring on security and decision making in the U.S. government.
“There is a high calling for government service and I would like to convey that to students,” he said.
Crowe, who studied at GW’s law school, said he first became interested in teaching at GW when he spoke at the University’s Commencement and received an honorary law degree in 1988.
Crowe said Maurice A. East, dean of the Elliott School from 1985 to 1994, initially asked him to return to GW as a professor.
“I enjoy teaching, especially when I enter the classroom,” Crowe said.
The opportunity was ideal because of GW’s close proximity to Crowe’s family and to Capitoline/MS&L, a downtown consulting firm where he now serves as advisory board chairman.
In his new role, Crowe will deliver the annual Shapiro lecture on European Union foreign policy. The lecture will be Nov. 19 at Stuart Hall and is open to the GW community.
Elliott School Associate Dean Nathan Brown said details will be announced soon regarding other events that will be open to all students so “the entire University community will benefit from his presence.
“At GW, we have always taken great pride in our ability to blend scholarly and practical dimensions,” Brown said. “Admiral Crowe’s appointment is ideal from this perspective because he brings unmatched expertise in security affairs and more recently, in diplomacy.
“We have been attracting first-rate students to the Elliott School at both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” Brown said. “I think Crowe will be in for a treat in the classroom.”
Crowe’s career in public service began in 1946 when he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. In the late 1950s, he served as an assistant naval attach? to President Dwight Eisenhower and commander of the submarine USS Wahoo.
Crowe later served as commander in chief of NATO forces in southern Europe and commander in chief of the Pacific forces, the largest geographic command in the U.S. military.
From 1985 to 1989, Crowe served as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest military position, a post later held by Gen. Colin Powell.
After five years as a professor of geopolitics at the University of Oklahoma, Crowe joined the Clinton administration as chairman of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. And until last month, worked as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Crowe’s rise in the ranks is rooted in a perpetual commitment and interest in education, Crowe’s spokesman and business partner Jay Coupe said.
“He is the best-educated senior military administrator in the United States,” he said.
Crowe received his master’s degree in education from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University. The Navy financed both graduate programs.
While chief of naval operations in Washington in the late 1960s, Crowe took night classes at GW’s law school and came within several courses of receiving his law degree.
“The Admiral had an unusual career because of the large amount of time he took to be educated, and people told him it would hurt (his chances of promotion),” Coupe said. “It’s ironic that those same people retired long before the Admiral’s service ended.”
In May 1997, Crowe received an award for 50 years of government service, which Coupe called “an almost unprecedented achievement.”
Crowe said his primary task now is to reacquaint himself with America after his tenure in London.
“I need to adjust. There’s more technology and a lot more traffic,” he chuckled.