Graham T. Allison, Jr. '62
This recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award is changing the world-quite literally. A Charlotte boy who has become a leader of the foreign policy elite, Dr. Graham Allison has had a profound influence on international affairs for the last half-century, particularly in times of crisis and around matters of national security.
The Cuban Missile Crisis. Nuclear terrorism. Democratization and economic reform in the former USSR. Graham Allison has been at the heart of all of these, and more. A consultant to the Pentagon in the 1960s, he advised Presidents Reagan and Clinton on matters of defense, and was a member of the Policy Board for six different Secretaries of Defense. He is the only person to be twice honored with the Department of Defense's highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal.
He also has shaped generations of thinking around foreign policy issues. As "founding dean" of the modern Kennedy School of Government at Harvard from 1977 to 1989, he took what was a small program and built it into one of the world's most important graduate schools, one that has prepared generations of the most talented young people for service toward the public good. In his current role as director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, he leads the central hub of the Kennedy School's research, teaching, and training programs, directing efforts to advance knowledge about security issues in the intersection between science, technology, environmental policy, and international affairs.
Graham has spent most of his career at Harvard-in fact, he attended Davidson for just two years before "defecting" there to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees and then join the Harvard faculty in 1968. He also holds degrees from Oxford University. But Graham has stayed true to his North Carolina roots, and he's always considered Davidson a second alma mater. For five decades he has been a loyal son of the college: A generous and consistent Davidson donor, he has also been generous with his time-a founding member of the Dean Rusk Program Advisory Council, he was instrumental in establishing and shaping the college's deep commitment to international studies, both in the classroom and beyond. He has returned to campus several times to offer lectures and panel discussions on the most salient international issues of the day, providing invaluable first-hand insight to students, faculty, and members of the greater Charlotte community. He received an honorary degree from Davidson in 1985, and Ambassador Jack Perry, former director of the Dean Rusk Program, noted that "If anyone not on the Davidson faculty has been an intimate part of magnifying international studies on this campus...it has been Graham Allison."
For your insight and innovation in matters of foreign policy; for your commitment to shaping young minds through education, at Harvard and beyond; and for embodying the Davidson commitment to a life of leadership and service, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, Graham Allison, with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of your 50th Reunion.