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Clements Center Will Promote Diplomatic History and National Security as well as Honor the Former Governor

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posted: Wednesday January 9, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — The William P. Clements Jr. Center on History, Strategy and Statecraft is being established at The University of Texas at Austin to train leaders in the history of national security and diplomacy and to honor the legacy of one of the most influential statesmen in Texas history, former Gov. Bill Clements.

The center’s leadership will include some of the top diplomatic and international historians in the nation, who are already on faculty at UT Austin. It will offer courses and study-abroad opportunities for undergraduates and graduates; provide research grants and fellowships for promising young scholars as well as distinguished faculty members; and sponsor research, lectures and forums on history and statecraft.

"Bill Clements would be humbled and honored that a leading international center named for him would be established at the leading state university of his beloved Texas to honor his legacy, train future American leaders in how to serve their country with excellence in the national security arena, and buttress America's strong, moral leadership of world affairs,” said George Seay, the chairman of the board of advisers for the new center, chairman of Annandale Capital LLC, and Gov. Clements' grandson.

“Leading the Department of Defense was a highlight of his unique, distinguished life, and he believed strongly in keeping America pre-eminent in maintaining global security. The University of Texas at Austin has embraced this initiative, and the Clements family is highly enthusiastic and supportive of UT in its leadership. UT is the perfect place to establish the Clements Center, with its world-class faculty, resources and desire to seize leadership in this vital area."

The university established the center in cooperation with the Clements family. It will be financially supported through the generosity of the Clements family, which has given an initial gift of $2.5 million, friends of Gov. Clements, with additional support from other friends and alumni of The University of Texas at Austin and others around the world who support the center’s mission.

Clements (1917-2011) founded and led SEDCO, at one time the largest oil and gas drilling company in the world, which was sold to Schlumberger Ltd. in 1984. Prior to serving two terms as the first Republican governor of Texas since Reconstruction, he served under Presidents Nixon and Ford as acting and deputy secretary of defense from 1973 to 1977. In those roles, he managed the entire Defense Department, helped develop multiple weapons systems and mentored a generation of national security officials. An avid reader of history, Clements left a distinguished legacy of bipartisan service to his state and nation.

The center’s research and scholarship will focus on areas including national security policy and diplomatic, military and international history.

“The Clements Center will reinforce UT’s status as one of the top universities in the nation to study, teach and understand history. I am grateful to George Seay and the entire Clements family for helping us establish this center as a living legacy to Gov. Clements,” said university president Bill Powers, who will directly oversee the center’s leadership.

“American public universities have an obligation to foster a commitment to citizenship and public service. The Clements Center reinforces UT’s efforts to support the study of diplomatic, military and international history. These fields, valuable in their own right, are also essential for training the next generation of leaders in national security and statecraft.”

The Clements Center will help fill a void in the study of history and statecraft that has emerged nationwide in recent years. Its efforts, including executive education programs, will be designed to train private-sector leaders and strengthen citizenship more broadly.

“Our most ambitious goal will be to bring the study of history to bear on improving American national security policy and helping maintain America’s status as the world’s pre-eminent nation,” said William Inboden, who will serve as executive director of the Clements Center. Inboden is a faculty member at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, and he is a Distinguished Scholar at the university’s Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law. He previously served at the State Department and on the National Security Council staff under President George W. Bush.

“Our group of scholars and practitioners at UT Austin already constitute a world-class team for the study and application of history to national security policy," Inboden said. "This new program will elevate UT Austin to be the pre-eminent institution in the nation for the study of history, strategy and statecraft.”

Institutional support from the Strauss Center for International Security and Law laid the foundation for the development of the Clements Center, which represents the Strauss Center’s commitment to innovative solutions to global challenges. The Department of History and the LBJ School will be indispensable institutional partners as well. Programs, initiatives and other supporters of the center will be announced in the coming months. Other faculty members affiliated with the program come from the university’s History Department, the LBJ School, the Strauss Center, Government Department, Institute for Historical Studies and the Law School. They include Francis Gavin, H.W. Brands, Jeremi Suri, Celeste Ward Gventer, Mark Atwood Lawrence, Patrick McDonald and Bobby Chesney.

For more information, contact:  Gary Susswein, Office of the President, 512-471-4945.

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