Andrew Samwick Reflects on Time as Head of Rockefeller Center

When asked about his guiding principle as director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, Andrew Samwick reaches for a piece of paper stuck to the top edge of his computer screen.

“Oh, I can’t take it off, but that’s it,” he says, pointing to the note. “ ‘Educating, training, and inspiring the next generation of public policy leaders.’ And the fact that it seems to be stuck means I’m just going to leave it here for my successor.”

Samwick, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72a P’10 Professor of Economics, concluded his 15-year tenure as the center’s director last week. He joined the faculty in the Department of Economics in 1994 and was named director of the center in 2004. He plans to return to teaching and research. The search for the next director is underway.

Under Samwick, the Rockefeller Center has created an experiential public policy curriculum and leadership development programs that are recognized as some of the best across academia and the private sector. The center’s wide range of leadership and public policy programs have been part of many hundreds of students’ Dartmouth experience. Rocky alumni have gone on to influential careers, in government at all levels, in the nonprofit sector, and in a range of private sector areas. Many maintain their ties to the center by taking part in leadership seminars and providing internship opportunities for each new crop of undergraduates.

Last month, Samwick was presented with the Class of 1964 Outstanding Leadership Award in recognition of his time leading the center.

“You have built a terrific team at Rocky, kept that team intact for a long time, and changed the lives of hundreds of students,” reads the Class of 1964 proclamation that accompanies the award. “You have set the standard by which the College should develop broader leadership initiatives engaging all students.”

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith says that under Samwick’s direction, the Rockefeller Center has grown in breadth.

“Andrew has guided the center’s transformation into a hugely dynamic force on campus, one that draws increasing numbers of students to its leadership programs,” she says. “The students who have taken part in these programs are well prepared to step into public policy work when they leave the College.”

Samwick recently spoke with Dartmouth News about his time leading the center and his hopes for its future.

Read the entire interview here.