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New Clements Center Honors Texas Governor’s Legacy

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The new William P. Clements Jr. Center for History, Strategy, and Statecraft honors the legacy of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements.

The new William P. Clements Jr. Center for History, Strategy, and Statecraft will train leaders in the history of national security and diplomacy, honoring the legacy of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements, who mentored a generation of such officials.

An avid reader of history, Clements, who died in 2011, left a distinguished legacy of bipartisan service to his state and nation. The founder and leader of SEDCO, at one time the largest oil and gas drilling company in the world, also served two terms as the governor of Texas. Prior to that, he served under Presidents Nixon and Ford as acting and deputy secretary of defense. In those roles, he managed the Defense Department and helped guide national security policy during a critical time.

George Seay, who is the chairman of the board of advisers for the new center, chairman of Annandale Capital LLC, and Gov. Clements’ grandson, says his grandfather would be pleased to have his name on an international center at a leading university with a goal of training future American leaders in world affairs.

Former Texas governor Bill Clements left a distinguished legacy of bipartisan service to his state and nation. Former Texas governor Bill Clements left a distinguished legacy of bipartisan service to his state and nation.[/caption]

“Leading the Department of Defense was a highlight of his unique, distinguished life,” says Seay. “He believed strongly in keeping America pre-eminent in maintaining global security.”

The University established the center in cooperation with Seay and other members of the Clements family, who have given an initial gift of $2.5 million. Additional support is being sought from others who support the center’s mission.

“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,” Seay says.

“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,” says university president Bill Powers, who will directly oversee the center’s leadership.

William Inboden will serve as executive director. A faculty member at the LBJ School and a Distinguished Scholar at the University’s Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, Inboden previously served at the State Department and on the National Security Council staff under President George W. Bush.

The Clements Center also will be home to diplomatic and international historians already at UT — nationally known voices such as H.W. Brands, Francis Gavin, Mark Lawrence, and Jeremi Suri. It will offer courses and opportunities for students, provide grants and fellowships for exceptional scholars, and sponsor research, lectures, and forums.

“American public universities have an obligation to foster a commitment to citizenship and public service,” says Powers. “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.”

“Our hope is that the Clements Center will suitably honor the life and legacy of Bill Clements by making UT the pre-eminent university in the country for studying the relationship between history and national security policy,” Inboden says. “We want it to be of value to both scholars and policymakers.”

With institutional support from the Strauss Center, the Department of History and the LBJ School are partners in the initiative. Other faculty will represent the Government Department, the Institute for Historical Studies, and the Law School.

Alan Tully, chair of the Department of History and the Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor in American History, says the center’s strength will lie in its interdisciplinary nature.

“By bringing together extraordinary faculty talent, and by providing new resources for scholarship and classroom presence, the Clements Center vaults UT to the forefront of the study of modern American diplomatic history and attendant strategies of statecraft,” Tully says.

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