Member of Congress. Decorated combat veteran. Published author. Respected academic.
Former U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson ’86 Ph.D., is all of the above, and will soon add Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Service Leadership at Siena College to his list of achievements.
Dr. Gibson will join the Siena faculty in September 2020 to teach two courses per semester, one each for the departments of political science and history. At this time, his visiting term is expected to last two years.
His appointment came about because of a panel discussion on civil discourse in politics held at Siena last fall. It featured Dr. Gibson, who previously represented the 19th and 20th Congressional districts in upstate New York, and U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, who currently represents the 20th district. The organizers of the event saw the opportunity to bring Dr. Gibson back to his alma mater to teach and mentor current students as a distinguished visiting professor – a position he currently holds at Williams College.
He will work with Leonard Cutler, Ph.D., professor of political science, and Fr. Daniel Dwyer Ph.D., department chair and associate professor of history, to incorporate his scholarship into those respective departments. He has previously taught courses in government, leadership and diplomatic history and is expected to teach similar topics at Siena.
“It’s a very exciting time to be joining the Siena team,” said Dr. Gibson. “Siena is very strongly positioned to play a leading role in promoting political dialogue and respectful debate because of its Franciscan tradition and its strong academics in political science and history. I’m looking forward to helping Siena students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become future leaders in the public or private sector. I’m very grateful to Siena for this appointment, and for the generosity of the benefactors who made this amazing opportunity possible.”
In addition to his Siena history degree, Dr. Gibson holds an M.A., M.P.A. and Ph.D. in government, all from Cornell University. He was a professor of American politics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a national security fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor of American Foreign Policy at Williams.
He is the author of two books, including his most recent work Rally Point: Five Tasks to Unite the Country and Revitalize the American Dream, and is a decorated combat veteran who rose to the rank of Colonel and Brigade Command in the 82nd Airborne Division, serving in the Persian Gulf War, the Kosovo Force and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“With his background as an elected public servant, decorated military officer, author and professor he will bring significant personal experience to the classroom and to the academic and professional mentoring of our students,” said Margaret E. Madden, Ph.D., interim president. “His dedication to preparing future leaders and encouraging bi-partisan dialogue fits well with Siena’s mission, its Franciscan values and the scholarship and dedication of our faculty.”
Dr. Gibson is planning to reach out to his colleagues in government and the military to help secure guest speakers, workshop leaders, and internships for Siena students.
“So many Americans now are dispirited about the state of politics,” said Dr. Gibson, “I want to teach students how to be agents of change, how to work with the political process to ethically and honorably serve their country.”
Dr. Cutler added, “Having Chris Gibson here to teach leadership and government will be highly beneficial for our students. Given his experience and background, and his willingness to develop programs that will enhance the educational experience, we know he will be a tremendous asset here. He is a proud son of Siena, and we are delighted to welcome him back to campus.”