Three Elliott Faculty Members Prepare to Retire

This year, the Elliott School bids farewell to three long-serving faculty members poised to retire over the coming months. The Elliott community says thank you for your extraordinary teaching and exemplary service over the years.

Students of Professor Ed McCord once gave him the affectionate moniker “Warlord McCord,” in honor of his study of China’s warlords of the early 20th century. During his 25-year career at GW, Dr. McCord, Professor of History and International Affairs, has held almost every academic position that a member of our faculty could hold – deputy chair of the history department, director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, founder and director of the Taiwan Education and Research Program, vice dean, and acting/interim dean. He also served as associate dean for every constituency at the school, guiding faculty and students, overseeing research grants, pitching in on management and planning. A tireless and dedicated member of the Elliott community, Dr. McCord was often spotted striding vigorously to his classes.






In his 40 plus years of teaching, Professor Henry R. Nau has helped to shape the lives of hundreds of Elliott students. “He had a profound influence on my professional career,” said one former student. Dr. Nau, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, has held many positions. At GW, he directed the longest-standing Congressional exchange program between Members of the U.S. Congress, the Japanese Diet, and the Korean National Assembly. For this work, the Japanese government in 2016 awarded him its Order of the Rising Sun. Dr. Nau also served as special assistant to the undersecretary for economic affairs in the U.S. Department of State and was a senior staff member on the National Security Council during the Reagan administration. He excelled at showing to students how different theories of international affairs play a decisive role in explaining debates about world affairs.






An award-winning scholar of modern military history, Professor Ronald Spector was the first civilian to become Director of Naval History and head of the Naval Historical Center. He is both a prolific author and an educator with broad scope. In his nearly 30-year career at GW, he has taught courses on U.S.-East Asia Relations, World War II, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Naval History. His book At War At Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century (2002) received the Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History, and Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan (1985) won the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Prize for Naval History. “He has an awesomely dry sense of humor,” noted one of Dr. Spector’s former students. “He really knows his stuff [as] he served in Vietnam,” remarked another.


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