The LBJ School at 40

The LBJ School has changed almost beyond recognition since the first class graduated in 1972. Back then, students were individually selected and mentored. They came generously funded with full- tuition scholarships and stipends for living expenses. In many cases they were taught by faculty members who had, until recently, been senior members of the Johnson Administration. President Johnson himself was a regular presence around the School that bears his name. We are much bigger now, and we are regrettably unable to provide funding to all. Like other public policy schools, our faculty has become more “academic” in composition and we are no longer as tightly connected to Washington, D.C. as we once were. But the essence of the School, I am happy to report, has remained the same. We distinguish ourselves among public policy schools by being not only among the top academically, but also by our focus on experiential learning. Following President Johnson’s mandate, we prepare our graduates to be not only thinkers but also “doers.” Despite our increased size – over 340 students are enrolled now – we are still a close-knit community. Above all, our students (as well as our faculty and staff) are still fired by the same spirit of public service. It is what I call “applied idealism” – the passionate commitment to help make the world a better place, and the determination to...

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