The founding director of the Bush School of Government and Public Service is retiring following 24 years at Texas A&M and more than 50 years of work in the field of political science.
Charles F. “Chuck” Hermann, who is a senior professor and Brent Scowcroft Chair Emeritus in International Policy Studies, arrived at Texas A&M in 1995, two years before the school opened, to serve as its founding director. Hermann’s career was honored in a reception late Monday afternoon.
“It’s been a real privilege to be part of the Bush School,” Hermann said before several dozen of his colleagues, current and former students and other community members.
Hermann said that he and his wife, Mays Business School professor Lorraine Eden, plan to stay connected to the Bush School, and are working to create an endowed fellowship to financially support one high-achieving student each year.
“We want to do it every year, and we’ll call them Hermann Fellows,” he said. “It’s for a student in their second year who may not have gotten a top scholarship coming in. Every year, there are people who come in and knock our socks off and do well in classes and take leadership positions. Those are the people we want to target.”
Hermann came to College Station following approximately 25 years as a political science professor at Ohio State University. He said that the late President George H.W. Bush showed a tremendous interest in the school’s development from its inception.
Hermann’s scholarship has focused primarily on the fields of foreign policy, national security and group decision-making and simulation.
Bush School dean Mark A. Welsh served as the reception’s emcee. He praised Hermann for cowriting Called to Serve, a book chronicling the Bush School’s first two decades. Welsh also paid tribute to his long career as a researcher and professor.
“Chuck is a Renaissance man, but he is, and always will be at heart, a scholar,” Welsh said.
Valerie Hudson, a political science professor at the Bush School, studied under Hermann from 1979 to 1983 at Ohio State. She described Hermann as a “must-cite scholar” in multiple research fields, including foreign policy analysis, in which scholars analyze leaders’ decision-making processes.
“As we celebrate Chuck’s accomplishments today, I hope you will not overlook his high standing as a scholar and the profound influence he has had on the field of international relations,” Hudson said.
After his time as director, Hermann worked as the Bush School’s associate dean for academic programs. He then served as the inaugural director of the school’s master’s program in international affairs, a position he held until 2013.
Hudson also noted Hermann’s community involvement, which has included time working with the nonprofit Project Unity, the Texas A&M Opera and Performing Arts Society and the Brazos Valley Symphony Society.
“Chuck isn’t like a normal academic,” Hudson said. “Most academics live in their heads and are very cerebral, or may be disconnected from everyday affairs. Chuck Hermann is one in a million, because he’s the opposite of that. I have never met an academic so involved in his community.”
Gregory Gause, who is the head of the department of international affairs at the Bush School, praised the “sacrifice” Hermann made to set aside some of his research to help start the Bush School.
“Chuck established something new,” Gause said. “While there was a lot of support at the university, universities move very slowly. You needed someone with an enormous amount of commitment, dedication and willpower to carry this through, and Chuck did it. That is his legacy.”