Tag: Scarff Professor

Former U.S. ambassador brings insights to Lawrence as visiting Scarff professor

Shaun Donnelly, Distinguished Visiting Scarff Professor, speaks to students earlier this week in Dylan Fitz’s Effective Altruism class in Briggs Hall. (Photos by Danny Damiani)

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Shaun Donnelly ’68 says his message to Lawrence University students interested in careers with an international focus is a simple one.

You’re in the right place.

“My message is that I think a good liberal arts education is about the best preparation you can have for working internationally,” Donnelly said during a break from participating in economics and government class discussions as the Distinguished Visiting Scarff Professor at Lawrence. “The world is constantly changing and you’ve got to be able to adjust.”

Donnelly forged a 36-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service, retiring in 2008. He served as U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka from 1997 to 2000, appointed by President Bill Clinton, and worked as deputy ambassador in Tunisia and Mali, among other positions. He spent 15 of those 36 years living and working abroad.

He is spending two weeks in October on the Lawrence campus, the latest in a line of distinguished public servants, professional leaders, and scholars who have shared insights and collaborated with students and faculty since the Scarff Professorship was established in 1989 by Edward and Nancy Scarff in memory of their son, Stephen. It is designed to bring civic leaders and scholars to Lawrence to provide broad perspectives on the central issues of the day.

Donnelly, who studied economics at Lawrence, worked on international economics and trade policies during much of his Foreign Service career and continues to work part-time as a consultant for the United States Council for International Business (USCIB). He said students today need to be aware that there will almost certainly be an international component to their work no matter the field they’re in.

Shaun Donnelly on liberal arts colleges preparing students to work internationally: “It’s a good training ground, I would argue.”

“They are going to be living in a world that’s going to be increasingly international,” Donnelly said. “They may think, oh, I’m going to work for a company like Kimberly-Clark or Caterpillar or something, but those are international companies. They’re competing with international companies and their markets are going to be increasingly outside of the U.S.”

He encouraged students to seek out international opportunities while in school, from studying foreign languages, to taking educational trips abroad, to attending events hosted by international students on campus.

Donnelly found his path into the U.S. Foreign Service while volunteering with the Peace Corps in Tunisia shortly after graduating from Lawrence in 1968. He took his first assignment during the administration of Richard Nixon and would work through seven presidents, retiring as George W. Bush was leaving office.

He said he leaned into his Lawrence education each step of the way as he climbed the ranks as a government servant, working in Senegal for two and a half years, Ethiopia for two years, Egypt for two years, Mali for two years, Tunisia for three years, and Sri Lanka for three years.

He quickly learned to navigate the world of government service when elections shuffle the players.

“Ninety percent of American foreign policy doesn’t change,” Donnelly said. “We’re doing visas for people coming, we’re out there trying to promote American companies, we’re looking for support at the UN for democracy. That doesn’t change. But you do see changes when a new administration comes in.”

Some administrations he worked through were more idealistic in their foreign policies, he said. Others were more pragmatic. As an employee of the government, you aren’t always going to agree with policies, but you have a job to do, he said.

“I quickly realized that I was not elected to make these policies,” Donnelly said. “We have a process. Government employees are basically paid to implement them. So, I say to young people all the time, if you are going to go work for the government—internationally or domestic—you need to know enough about yourself to know if you’re comfortable being a government servant.”

Donnelly is one of four Lawrence alumni who have been appointed U.S. ambassadors by presidents, joining Walter North ’72, U.S. ambassador to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Republic of Vanuatu from 2012 to 2016; Christopher Murray ’75, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of the Congo from 2010 to 2013; and David Mulford ’59, U.S. ambassador to India from 2004 to 2009.

“All of the traits that make someone successful in business or academia or journalism or whatever it is, you need all of those to succeed in international work,” Donnelly said. “But you also need to be culturally sensitive and be understanding and be intellectually curious about other cultures and free from quick value judgments. You have to be willing to try to understand the complexities of the international world.

“And I do think a good liberal arts college like Lawrence does that. It’s a good training ground, I would argue.”

Jason Brozek, the Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and associate professor of government, has been coordinating Donnelly’s visit to Lawrence, bringing him into courses ranging from International Law, to Intro to Political Science, to Effective Altruism. Donnelly also is meeting with students in the Career Center and talking with faculty.

He was initially due to be the Distinguished Visiting Scarff Professor in Spring 2020, but that was postponed due to the pandemic. In Spring 2021, he and Brozek worked to split the duties of the position to accommodate the times. He spent a week with Brozek’s remote-synchronous Intro to International Relations class, and in May he delivered a remote public lecture titled “America’s Trade Mess: Who Caused it, and Can Biden Fix it?”

“Thanks to the support of the Scarff family over the last three decades, we’ve been able to connect students with ambassadors, diplomats, leaders of global nonprofits, and other experts in international affairs,” Brozek said.

Scarff visiting professors have included, among others, William Sloane Coffin Jr., civil rights and peace activist; Takakazu Kuriyama, former ambassador of Japan to the United States; George Meyer, former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Robert Suettinger ’68, Intelligence analyst and China policy expert; Russ Feingold, former U.S. senator from Wisconsin; and Nancy Hendry, international attorney fighting sexual exploitation.

“It’s been an incredible opportunity to enrich our academic community and to make the work of international politics tangible and hands-on for multiple decades of Lawrentians,” Brozek said.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold Named Lawrence University Scarff Professor

Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold will spend part of the Fall Term at Lawrence University as the college’s 2012-13 Stephen Edward Scarff Distinguished Visiting Professor.

The Scarff professorship was established in 1989 by Edward and Nancy Scarff in memory of their son, Stephen, a member of the Lawrence class of 1975, who died in an automobile accident in 1984. It brings civic leaders and scholars to Lawrence to provide broad perspectives on the central issues of the day.

Russ Feingold

Feingold received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lawrence in 2011 and spoke as part of the college’s 1994-95 convocation series.

During his Scarff appointment, Feingold will present guest lectures for the courses “Introduction to International Relations,” “International Politics” and others. He also will deliver a public address and participate in a weekend retreat with students at Björklunden, Lawrence’s 425-acre northern campus in Door County.

“We are extremely pleased that Senator Feingold will be able to offer his insights and wisdom directly to Lawrence’s students,” said Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows. “His experience in government will complement our programs that stress the theoretical analysis of political systems with actual examples of how our politics works in contemporary life. His commitment to improving the living conditions of our citizens is a fine example of civic engagement and will serve as a helpful model for students, faculty and staff.”

One of Wisconsin’s highest-profile elected officials, Feingold spent 28 years in public service as both a three-time state senator (1982-92) and U.S. Senator (1994-2010). During his 18 years in Congress, Feingold established himself as one of the U.S. Senate’s most independent voices. He was the lone senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001, opposed President Obama’s decision to expand the war in Afghanistan, was the first senator to propose a timetable to exit Iraq and fought against NAFTA and other financial deregulation and trade agreements he considered unfair.

“I could not be more pleased to be working with the students at one of the great pillars of education in Wisconsin, one that has produced some of Wisconsin’s strongest civic leaders,” said Feingold.

In 2011, Feingold accepted a visiting professor appointment at Marquette University Law School to teach the courses “Current Legal Issues: The U.S. Senate” and “Jurisprudence.”

Feingold also was named the inaugural Mimi and Peter Haas Distinguished Visitor at Stanford University during the winter quarter of 2012 and will return to Stanford Law School to teach in 2013.

He is the author of the New York Times’ best-selling book “While America Sleeps,” which examines the challenges America faces as a nation since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2011, Feingold founded Progressives United, a grassroots organization designed to counter corporate influence in politics.

A native of Janesville, Feingold graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1975 and earned a law degree in 1977 from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He returned to the states and earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1979. Feingold practiced law in Madison from 1979-85.

Feingold is the 18th person named Lawrence’s Scarff Professor. Previous appointments include McGeorge Bundy, national security adviser to presidents Kennedy and Johnson; Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., former chaplain at Yale University, noted civil rights advocate and peace activist; and Takakazu Kuriyama, former Japanese Ambassador to the U.S.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Latin America Expert Examines Influence of Churches in Human Rights Series Presentation

The emergence of human rights as an influencing factor in international relations and the role Latin America played in that process will be examined in the second installment of Lawrence University’s month-long series “Engaging Human Rights.”

Alexander Wilde '62

Alexander Wilde, a 1962 Lawrence graduate and a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., presents “The Churches and Human Rights in Latin America” Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Although human rights are founded in international law, Wilde will discuss how Christian beliefs and institutions contributed significantly to social movements that made the cause of human rights effective and how understanding why Latin American Christians were moved to action hold insights for engaging human rights today.

Wilde is spending the fall term as Lawrence’s distinguished visiting Scarff professor. During his career, he has directed the Washington Office on Latin America, an NGO concerned with human rights and U.S. foreign policy, and was an officer of the Ford Foundation. In the mid-1990s, he led the Ford Foundation’s regional office in Santiago, Chile, developing new programming in human rights and historical memory.

In addition to his position at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Wilde serves on advisory boards at the Social Science Research Council, Chilean Millennium Science Initiative and the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

In recent years he has advised Argentine human rights organizations and award-winning documentary films, including “State of Fear” (2005) on the work of the Peruvian Truth Commission, “The Judge and the General” (2008) on efforts to prosecute Pinochet, “The Reckoning” (2009) on the International Criminal Court, and “Granito” (2011) on the Guatemalan genocide.  He lived and worked in Chile for more than a decade during its long post-1990 transition to democracy.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,520 students from 44 states and 56 countries.