Former NATO commander now Fletcher dean
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 07:09
Admiral James Stavridis (F ’83, ’84), former commander of the United States European Command and supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), entered his new position as dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy on July 1.
Stavridis said he aims to pursue partnerships with other Tufts graduate schools and maintain his commitment to increasing Fletcher’s resources, particularly in terms of financial aid.
“I believe passionately in the school, and I’m happy to go out and tell other people about why they ought to contribute and be part of the school,” Stavridis said. “I think part of my job is to work very hard on the human capital of the school and that means encouraging ... and finding financial aid for the very best students in the world.”
Stavridis plans to publish a strategic plan for Fletcher, based on the anticipated university strategic plan, by this fall, he said.
He himself is a graduate of The Fletcher School, having a master’s degree in law and diplomacy and a doctorate in international affairs. While at Fletcher, the diverse national backgrounds of the graduate school’s student body contributed greatly to his education, he said.
Stavridis went on to become NATO’s top military commander and overseer of all American forces under the United States European Command. Prior to accepting the position, Stavridis led the United States Southern Command for three years, gaining further recognition in the diplomatic community.
“[Stavridis] is a renowned international figure,” University President Anthony Monaco said. “He knows an enormous number of world leaders, and I think that’s [an] incredibly important contact for this university.”
Stavridis replaced Stephen Bosworth, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, who recently retired after 12 years of service as dean. The search for a new dean began last fall after Bosworth informed the administration of his plans to retire, according to Provost and Senior Vice President David Harris. A diverse community of Fletcher and Tufts members made up the search committee for the new dean.
Monaco explained that he was searching for specific criteria in the candidates for the new deanship.
“There’s three things I was looking for,” he said. “Someone who had real leadership experience; who had true international experience and who I thought had the personality, communication and collaboration skills to help us bring that Fletcher culture and innovation ... to other parts of the university. [Stavridis] fit all three.”
According to Harris, over 100 candidates applied for the position. Stavridis stood out among the crowd as not only one of the most renowned, but also the most reliable.
“He’s truly a ‘wow’ dean, but I also think that he’s going to be a ‘wow’ dean on day 82,” Harris said.
Both Monaco and Harris also hoped to find a dean who would stay for five to 10 years. According to Harris, Stavridis has already signed on for five.
Apart from settling into his duties as dean, Stavridis currently serves as chair of the board of the United States Naval Institute, the professional organization for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine. He is also writing a memoir about his experiences as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander.
Stavridis also hopes to expand his presence on campus while serving as dean. He said he has already begun to communicate in person, by phone or via email with students, active alumni and Fletcher’s international advisory boards.
“I’m asking each faculty member to bring me a book or article so I can understand the kind of research they’re doing,” he said.
Stavridis has also introduced a weekly blog, “To Know the World,” which will feature videos or articles on The Fletcher School website. Topics will be split between news related to The Fletcher School and his opinions on what’s happening in the world, he said.
“For someone like me who enjoys a very wide variety of different experiences and topics, [Fletcher is] a perfect place,” Stavridis said.