Michael Froman appointed Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center

Froman served as former President Barack Obama’s U.S. trade representative


Froman worked as the U.S. Trade Representative between 2013 and 2017.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The University’s Miller Center for Public Affairs announced last week that it has appointed Michael Froman, former President Barack Obama’s U.S. trade representative and a veteran diplomat, as the James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor.

The Schlesinger Professorship provides a unique experience for both students and faculty at the University, as well as the senior officials in the program. 

Students and faculty of the University, especially those in the politics and history departments and Batten School, have the opportunity to interact with the distinguished professor. 

“The Schlesinger Professorship allows students and faculty to get to know senior officials who have served our country in national security and international affairs positions,” William Antholis, director and CEO of Miller Center, said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “These former officials make frequent visits to the University, and work together with the U.Va. community in understanding the landscape of foreign policy challenges.”

The officials themselves also benefit from the interactions, Antholis said.

“The benefit for these distinguished officials is to have a chance to reflect on their public service, to share their experiences, and to work with our best-in-class faculty to think through solutions to problems and new opportunities to explore,” Antholis said. “I think a number of them do this because it provides them another way of serving.” 

The Miller Center looks for senior officials who have a global vision and could provide insight into the works of the government, Antholis said.

“We are keen to find people who have experience in all parts of the world, who think strategically, and who have served at the highest levels of government,” Antholis said. “We've been able to attract people like Tom Pickering, who served as Ambassador to the United Nations, to Russia, to India and to Israel, among other places.”

Antholis knew Michael Froman long before his appointment to the professorship. During former president Bill Clinton’s administration, Froman served as chief of staff for Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, while Antholis worked as an advisor in the White House.

“I met him in this context ... In 1997 and 1998 there was an Asian financial crisis and the U.S. government was responding to [it],” Antholis said. “Mike and I got to know each other through responding to the crisis.”

Froman, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is deeply woven into the fabric of politics and public affairs. From January 2009 to 2013, he served as an assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs.

From June 2013 to January 2017, he served in Obama’s cabinet as the U.S. trade representative. He acted as Obama’s principal advisor and negotiated trade and investment matters. 

Froman’s professorship will be during the 2017-18 academic year.

“I think Mike’s doing this as an honor, as he enjoys being a part of the academic environment and a great University,” Antholis said.

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