Frank Gavin, director of Strauss Center, to leave for MIT at the end of the semester

Charlotte Carpenter

Francis J. Gavin, director of the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, will leave the University in January to accept a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His successor will be law professor Robert Chesney. 

Gavin was instrumental in the development of the Strauss Center, which began in 2004 and was established by 2006. He said his vision was to create an interdisciplinary institution that brought together thinkers capable of confronting complex global challenges.

“In our increasingly globalized world, it’s vital to have top minds looking at the problems facing the international community and helping develop solutions. Frank Gavin is one of those minds,” President William Powers Jr. said in a statement. “His leadership at the Strauss Center has been
invaluable and he has been an asset for the University
of Texas.”

Gavin will continue his work at UT and at the Strauss Center throughout fall 2013.

“Academic work should contribute to a larger conversation,” Gavin said. “We want to bring the world to Texas, and Texas to the world.” 

Gavin said this idea drives the wide variety of work the center has undertaken over the years. The projects of the center include hosting hundreds of world-renowned speakers and providing funding for more than 250 students to do research and study abroad.

Of all the Strauss Center’s accomplishments, Gavin said he considers its ability to attract world-class talent to Texas to be one of its main successes.

At the top of his list, Gavin includes his successor Chesney, a Strauss Distinguished Scholar and a leading expert on issues relating to national security and intelligence.

“We are proud to have such a prominent and influential scholar lead the Strauss Center for International Security and Law,” Powers said in
his statement.  

Chesney acknowledges the leadership legacy left by Gavin, and said he looks forward to building upon his accomplishments to further benefit UT and the world. 

“I’m honored to take the reigns from him, and as excited as I could possibly be about what we will accomplish next,” Chesney said in a statement. 

Gavin, who has been with the University for 13 years, said it is not easy leaving the place he loves. 

“It was very difficult,” Gavin said. “But its good for the soul, for institutions, to move on and do new things.” 

Gavin will be serving as the inaugural Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Security Policy at MIT starting in 2014.