News from the Bush School

Bush School Selected for Robertson Fellows Program

December 21, 2010

Dec. 21, 2010

Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service has been selected to participate next year in a new national program to prepare top graduate students for federal government careers in international relations and related fields. The new Texas A&M Robertson Fellows Program will be funded by a $386,400 four-year gift from the Robertson Foundation for Government (RFFG), which was established by the family of the late philanthropists Charles and Marie Robertson and named in their honor.

Widely recognized as one of the nation’s top graduate schools of public affairs with an international emphasis, the Bush School will join four other schools in the growing Robertson Fellows program: the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University; the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, and the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

George Bush, 41st President of the United States, said he was particularly pleased that students at the Bush School would have increased opportunities thanks to the Robertson Foundation for Government’s generous donation. “Charles and Marie Robertson created a legacy for the nation that is a great service by focusing on the need for well-educated professionals in government service. We are indeed fortunate to become a part of this important effort,” he added.

The Robertson Foundation for Government’s mission is to strengthen the United States by supporting educational and training programs for men and women who will enter federal government service in international affairs. It places special emphasis on studies related to national security, foreign affairs, and diplomacy and seeks to help the federal government meet personnel needs by working with colleges and universities as well as with federal departments and agencies that require international expertise.

When it begins its affiliation with the Robertson Fellows Program, the Bush School will select four top students per year to serve as Robertson Fellows and study in the School’s master’s degree programs in International Affairs and Public Service and Administration. Eligible students must be U.S. citizens, academically outstanding, demonstrate a compelling interest in working for the U.S. government in areas related to international affairs, and exhibit strong leadership qualities.

“What makes the Robertson Fellows Program unique is that it’s virtually the only privately funded program in the United States supporting students interested in pursuing federal government careers in foreign policy, national security and international affairs,” said RFFG Chairman William Robertson.  “In the next ten years, there will be a huge outflow of public employees taking retirement, and we need to fill those positions with top quality candidates. The Bush School was selected because it has one of the top graduate programs in the nation.  We hope to train some of the finest candidates to serve in the U.S. government and allow those candidates to begin their public service careers without being thousands of dollars in debt.”

Dean Ryan Crocker noted that the Robertson Fellows Program is an excellent addition to the financial aid options open to Bush School students. “We are extremely honored to have been selected by the Robertson Foundation for Government to be part of their vital educational mission. In addition to the student financial support, the Foundation’s links to federal departments and agencies will help us place our graduates where their knowledge and skills can be of the most use to our country,” Crocker said. 
Robertson fellowship funds will be in addition to funds normally provided to Bush School students. The goal is to provide a mix of resources that will cover all expenses associated with completing a master’s degree over two years. Fellowship recipients, who must make a commitment to work for the federal government for at least three years following their graduation, also will receive additional enhancements such as subsidized health insurance and internship expenses; assistance in securing federal government employment; opportunities to network with RFFG alumni on internship and career possibilities; and meetings with the RFFG staff and advisory board.

RFFG and the Bush School will provide funding for four students per year for the next three years. The first Robertson Fellows will be named for the fall of 2011.