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Dean Rusk: UGA Years

Served as U.S. Secretary of State (1961-1968) and member of the Georgia Law faculty (1970-1984)
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Portrait by August Henry Nordhausen

Presented to Georgia Law by the Charles Loridans Foundation on Law Day 1974. The portrait hangs in Dean Rusk Hall.

Continuing Interest & Honor

September 21, 1996 - Dedication of Dean Rusk Hall new home of the Dean Rusk Center for International and Comparative Law

2010Dean Rusk Center for International and Comparative Law renamed Dean Rusk Center for International Law and Policy.

May 27, 2014 - Georgia Public Broadcasting presented Dean Rusk: At the Heartbeat of History, a documentary which summarized his career.

2015 - Dean Rusk Center for International Law and Policy renamed the Dean Rusk International Law Center.

UGA Professor, 1969 - 1994

May 1968 - Secretary Rusk Highlights Law Day 1968, Georgia Advocate, Vol. 4, No. May 27, 1968. See other Law Day speakers.

January 20, 1969 - Richard Nixon sworn in as the 37th president

At the moment President Nixon finished his oath of office, I just floated like a balloon; that job was not my baby anymore. (Rusk, 604)

Some consider the job of Secretary of State the most difficult in government and as demanding as the presidency itself. Fourteen hour days, seven days a week were the norm. In eight years he averaged only one night per month at home with his family. (Schoenbaum, 270)

1969 - Receives the Sylvanus Thayer Award, presented by the Association of Graduates, United States Military Academy, for "Outstanding Service to the Nation.'

December 1969 - Revealed that UGA President Fred C. Davison had asked the state board of regents to appoint Rusk to the Samuel H. Sibley Professorship of International Law.  Rusk had a long held dream to become a professor of international law.

Dean Lindsey Cowen of the University of Georgia Law School approached me about joining his faculty as a professor of international law. I would be delighted to come home to Georgia, ... . Even though I had not lived in Georgia since 1927, I still considered myself a Georgian. (Rusk, 605)

The board of regents approved faculty appointments and these were usually just a formality. But in Rusk's case it was made into an issue. State political leaders were opposed to the appointment because of Rusk's supposed "liberal posture" as Secretary of State. Regent Roy Harris objected to Rusk's appointment because his daughter Peggy had married an African American man. His daughter's marriage in 1967 had had no discernable impact on his work as secretary of state but he had consulted with Johnson who in turn spoke to Senator Russell of Georgia who replied, "Forget it. It won't make any difference at all."

The appointment of Rusk was considered one of the worst crises in the university system since losing accreditation in the early 1940s. A special meeting of the board of regents was called to vote on the appointment, Rusk was approved 9-4. The appointment received national news coverage. Read some of the news stories. A member of the state legislature and friend of Harris even introduced a bill to reduce the UGA appropriation by the amount of Rusk's salary. The bill was defeated 113 to 12.

October 1970 - Begins teaching as an assistant professor. He became a popular professor and was accessible to the students. He also became a popular speaker, accepting invitations from local garden clubs to national television programs. A favorite theme was the danger he saw in an America that was becoming increasingly isolationist. (Schoenbaum, 495-6)

May 4, 1974 - Portrait of Rusk presented to Georgia Law by the Charles Loridans Foundation. The portrait was painted by August Henry Nordhausen.

1977 - Dean Rusk Center for International and Comparative Law established. The Center conducts research and policy analysis on laws that affect international trade and development. The Center is located in Waddell Hall with Professor W. Frederick Huszagh as its first director.

February 1983 - Professor ThomasJ. Schoenbaum appointed as director of the Rusk Center and the first Dean Rusk Professor of Law

September 1984 - Awarded the Bicentennial Medallion, the University's highest honor

1985 - Davidson College establishes the Dean Rusk Program in International Studies

May 17, 1986 - Georgia Law commencement speaker

May 1989 - Tribute to Dean Rusk on his 80th Birthday, 135 Cong. Rec. H2059 (daily ed. May 23, 1989) (statement of Rep. Darden).

April 1990 - The Foundation of Wesley Homes Honors Dean Rusk, 136 Cong. Rec. S4786 (daily ed. Apr. 20, 1990) (statement of Rep. Fowler).

December 20, 1994 - Dies and is buried in the historic Oconee Hill Cemetery

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