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>  News Releases >   2009 >   May

Russell Muirhead named inaugural chair of the Robert Clements Professorship of Democracy and Politics at Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 05/13/09 • Media Contact: Office of Public Affairs (603) 646-3661

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James Russell Muirhead, Jr.
James Russell Muirhead, Jr. (credit Stanford Visual Art Services)

The Office of the Dean of the Faculty is pleased to announce the appointment of James Russell Muirhead, Jr. to be the inaugural holder of the Robert Clements Professorship of Democracy and Politics at Dartmouth. Muirhead is currently Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and he will join the Dartmouth faculty on July 1.

“I speak for the faculty when I say how grateful we are to the Clements family for their generosity in establishing an endowed professorship at Dartmouth College. We sincerely appreciate the commitment to the College and the support for the work of the faculty that such a gift signifies,” said Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Biological Sciences Carol Folt. In making this appointment, the Dean of the Faculty looked for a scholar-teacher with an established national and international reputation in the study of democracy in the United States and abroad. “Professor Muirhead is a prominent expert in politics and democracy, and he is known for his excellence as a teacher and his dedication to being a mentor for his students; he is the ideal person to be the inaugural holder of this chair,” Folt added.

Professor Muirhead received his A.B. (1988) and Ph.D. (1997) in government from Harvard University. In 1990, he earned a second bachelor’s degree at Oxford University in philosophy, politics and economics as a Rhodes Scholar. He has also received research funding from the Mellon Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

At the University of Texas, Muirhead has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the history of political thought and themes in contemporary politics – including ethics, partisanship, philosophy, and morality. He is the author of Just Work (Harvard University Press, 2004) and the forthcoming publication Left and Right: A Defense of Party Spirit (Harvard University Press). He is currently working on a third book, Party Spirit, which explores how partisan commitments convey the ideal of good citizenship in a democracy. Prior to his appointment in Austin, Muirhead taught at Harvard University and Williams College.

“I am honored and delighted to be appointed to the Clements Chair at Dartmouth,” Muirhead said. “I am eager to draw upon the knowledge, expertise and judgment of Dartmouth’s renowned Government Department, and the College’s faculty – many of whom I already know, and whose work I very much admire. Dartmouth students, of course, are among the greatest attractions of the place. I put my mind and my heart into the classroom, and I look forward to teaching courses that explore the complexities of a democratic society, the intersection of ideas and political institutions, and the great and enduring questions of political philosophy.”

In establishing his endowed chair Mr. Clements commented that, “American democracy has been a model for other countries to emulate. However, in recent years this model has faced growing challenges, as special-interest groups have taken advantage of an open political system. There is no longer a perfect equation between democracy and freedom. It is therefore critical for institutions of higher education to provide opportunities for scholarship and education that explore solutions to the problems modern democracies face.” He added, “It is our hope that the establishment of this chair will enable Professor Muirhead, as well as those who follow him, to create new knowledge about the relationship between democracy and freedom and, most importantly, share that knowledge with tomorrow’s leaders.”

The Robert Clements Professorship of Democracy and Politics is funded by gifts from Robert Clements, a member of the Class of 1954, and the Trustees of The Clements Foundation. An international leader in the insurance industry, Clements is renowned as the visionary who revolutionized captive insurance and commercial excess liability insurance markets. Clements is non-executive Chairman and Founder of global commercial insurers Integro and Ironshore Insurance. He was Chairman and Founder of Arch Capital Group and was responsible for Marsh & McLennan Companies worldwide insurance brokering operations for many years. He was also founder and CEO of the firm's private equity business, MMC Capital. He is the Chairman of the Risk Foundation, Chairman Emeritus of the College of Insurance, former Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the School of Risk Management at St. John's University, and an Overseer Emeritus of the Institute for Civil Justice. He has served the U.S. Government as a member of its Services Policy Advisory Committee and of the President's Advisory Commission on Product Liability and was the recipient of The Free Enterprise Award in 1987.

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