Honoring 6 Years of Service: Thank you, Director Mahoney!

Dr. Richard Mahoney, director of the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and political science professor, will be stepping down as director and returning to the faculty after 6 years of service to the department. Mahoney was named director in 2012 after a long and distinguished career in politics and education.

Dr. Mahoney served as the 14th Secretary of State in Arizona from 1991 – 1995. He was also the chief speechwriter for two presidential campaigns and ran his own U.S. Senate campaign in 1994. Along with years of political experience, Dr. Mahoney is considered one the leading American historians on the Kennedys and has written two books on the late president: JFK: Ordeal in Africa (1983) and Sons and Brothers: The Days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy (1999).

His educational background is also impressive. He received his J.D. from Arizona State University, master’s degree and Ph.D. in international relations from Johns Hopkins, and bachelor’s degree from Princeton. Furthermore, he received a C.E.P. in economics from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris which is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious institutions for social sciences as well as one of the top ranked French Universities. This is just a fraction of what Dr. Mahoney has accomplished to date. 

A valued member of the NC State community, Dr. Mahoney brought his extensive knowledge about national security, global politics and government to NC State students. I sat down with Dr. Mahoney to learn about his time as SPIA director and future plans.

What has been the best part of your experience as the director of SPIA?

All the friendship I’ve had, and all the companionship in terms of being the director. From faculty members to fellow administrators, it has been just great.

What has the experience taught you?

If I didn’t know better way back when, I know now to listen. I think that’s the key. Listen, and understand that before making decisions its critical to engage people whose judgment and experience is important and something you can rely on.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m going to Barcelona to teach at an international institute of national security. I’ll be there through July and December.

What advice do you have for SPIA students?

Get experience beyond the classroom. Grade getting is important, but it’s important to get experience in internships and after you graduate instead of just thrusting yourself into what you’re passionate about. Figure out how your passion summons you. How do you know what you’re good at until you do it? How do you get along with people? Do you like a structured setting or an unstructured setting? Experience is the critical, critical ingredient.

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