On the occasion of Sen. Richard Lugar’s 88th birthday, we pause to reflect on his legacy and the impact he continues to have on the state, the nation, the world, and—perhaps, most importantly—the students who call the Hamilton Lugar School home and seek to follow in his footsteps.
Our students’ lasting memories of the Senator are of a gentle giant of American diplomacy who always took time to listen, share advice and anecdotes, and even take selfies. We’re lucky that his presence is still felt in our halls and classrooms, as well as events like America’s Role in the World. The foreign policy conference he helped conceive and convene is now the premiere event of its kind in higher education. This year, we hosted the inaugural Richard G. Lugar lecture with Senator Todd Young and also presented the first Richard G. Lugar Award to Marie Yovanovitch, former US ambassador to Ukraine.
We hope we made him proud.
The Hamilton Lugar School frequently calls upon the Senator’s example as it seeks to lead with the fairness and compassion that he demonstrated throughout his monumental career. We are aided, of course, by the good fortune of living in a state and being part of a university that has doubled down on its investment in global studies, at a time when the national trends are in the other direction. The global challenges we face, and deepened disagreement about the direction of US foreign policy, remind us of the need for understanding of both global systems and the societies and cultures that shape our world. And as Senator Lugar taught us, unity, not division, is the only path to overcoming them.
The Hamilton Lugar School’s recent achievements include:
- Establishing a degree program in Cybersecurity & Global Policy, a first-of-its-kind degree that will challenge students to build a foundation of technical and global skills to prepare them to understand how new technologies affect global society.
- Hosting the inaugural Hamilton Lugar School Scholarship Dinner in Indianapolis. The evening benefited the Global Leadership Scholars Program, which was established in honor of Rep. Lee Hamilton and Senator Lugar, and featured a fireside chat with former US Secretary of Defense and IU alumnus Dr. Robert M. Gates, and Carol Giacomo, The New York Times editorial board writer covering foreign affairs.
- Continuing to support research and exchange between US and Russian Scholars through the Hamilton Lugar School’s Russian Studies Workshop, which is supported by grant funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
- Supporting global learning in the State of Indiana through the Indiana Language Roadmap, :a Department of Defense-funded program to strengthen cross-cultural and language skills across the state’s citizenry and workforce.
- Supporting our nation’s armed forces through the creation of the Language Training Center, a Department of Defense-funded program offering year-round language instruction in partnership with the US Special Operations Command and the Indiana National Guard.
Senator Lugar is one half of the founding spirit of the Hamilton Lugar School, and his legacy will endure through the generations of global leaders who will follow in his path. We miss him, his leadership, and his wise counsel, and wish the Lugar family safety and good health.