Former Virginia Governor Joins Mason as Visiting Professor
Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has joined Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government as a distinguished visiting professor.
He served as the 72nd governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. On the national stage, he led Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and co-chaired President Bill Clinton’s successful 1996 re-election campaign. McAuliffe, a graduate of Catholic University and the Georgetown University Law School, spoke about his classroom philosophy and his goals for his time at Mason.
Q. What about Mason appeals to you, and how do you see your role in shaping public service leaders of the future?
A. George Mason … has the highest number of diverse students in the commonwealth. [It’s] an avenue for students to come get the skills to prepare them for the 21st-century economy … an incubator for learning. And it’s exciting. When I talk about that learning of that 21st century in a disruptive economy, that’s happening here. The students who graduate from George Mason, they’re prepared to go out into that new economy.
Q. Do you see the Schar School as a base to promote greater public engagement in public policy issues and debates?
A. I want to use this to do policy seminars all over the country to talk about the issues. The people who have been left out of the new economy, some haven’t seen their paychecks go up in years. I want to have a whole discussion about how we bring those folks back in and come up with creative ideas of how everybody can benefit from a booming economy. My real hope is really to go out and talk to those folks who have been left out, who just feel like nobody is out there for them. … I want to have a discussion … about how we build the greatest economy in the world, a new 21st-century disruptive economy [in which] everybody is included.
Q. What kind of lecture can students expect from Professor McAuliffe?
A. I never hold anything back. I love a good, healthy discussion on issues. I’ve been in national politics for 40 years. I have held every job you can have in the Democratic Party. … It was a great opportunity and the greatest experience of my life being the 72nd governor, so I’ll be bringing that to the classroom. … I don’t pretend to know it all, so I think in the classroom, we’re going to have a good, honest discussion. I try to bring people together, build compromise. What’s happened in this country today is so many people are divided. … We’ve got to come back to reasonable discussions, reasonable debates and come together on consensus for what’s best for yourself and what’s best for the country. That’s what you’ll see—lively debates.
Q. How important is it for students to consider studying abroad and other global educational opportunities?
A. Every student should [study abroad] if they have that opportunity. … You realize there’s a whole other world outside this great country to experience, the different issues that they have, the difference circumstances that they have. I was the most traveled governor in America, 35 trade missions before that. I’ve done business all over the world. So when you travel abroad, it’s great and exciting. I love the excitement of it all, but there’s nothing like coming home.… It makes you value and realize how lucky you are to be an American.