General Petraeus Joins USC

By Debbie Gregory.

Retired four-star General David Petraeus has traveled the world in defense of the United States. His 37 years of military service and knowledge will now shift to the classroom.

General Petraeus will now hold the title of Judge Widney Professor when he joins the faculty at USC this fall. Judge Robert Maclay Widney was USC’s founder, and the title is an honor reserved for eminent individuals from the arts, sciences, professions, business, community and national leadership.

Petraeus, the architect of the counterinsurgency doctrine that stabilized Iraq under U.S. and allied forces, also served as the director of the CIA. In addition to his teaching duties, he will be mentoring student veterans and ROTC members.

“I am very grateful to have an opportunity to be part of a great university that prizes academic excellence, that is doing cutting-edge research in areas of enormous importance to our country, and that is known for steadfast support of its veterans and ROTC programs,” Petraeus said.

In a press release, USC President C. L. Max Nikias said of Petraeus,  “He embodies all the noble qualities of our founder along with a fearless commitment to excellence. His presence will have a profound impact on our students across many disciplines.”

This is not the first teaching position held by Petraeus.  After earning a PhD in international relations from Princeton University, Petraeus taught international relations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, his alma mater. In addition to his teaching and mentoring duties at USC, Petraeus will participate in seminars, panels, and working sessions with students and faculty.

The Petraeus family has a long history of service to this country. Holly Petraeus, the wife of General Petraeus, is the daughter of Army Gen. William A. Knowlton. Her son, brother, grandfather, and great-grandfather all served in our armed forces. A military spouse for more than 35 years, Mrs. Petraeus led the creation of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Previously, she served as the director of the Better Business Bureau’s Military Line program, providing consumer education to active and retired servicemembers and their families.

Gen. Petraeus’ appointment includes affiliations with the USC School of Social Work, including the program in military social work; the USC Price School of Public Policy; the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, including the program in public diplomacy; the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, including the Department of International Relations; the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, including the Information Sciences Institute; the USC Institute for Creative Technologies; and the USC Libraries, including the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study.

USC faculty and students will greatly benefit from the experience and wisdom that Gen. Petraeus brings to the university.   We at feel that Southern California is fortunate to gain this wonderful military family.   General Petraeus and his family have served our nation for decades and we are in their debt.