George A. Laudato National Security Fellowship Endowment Launched in Memory of SHU Alumnus and Board of Advisors Chair
When George Laudato passed away in October 2022, his family and friends looked for a tangible way to continue his legacy and support the development of young professionals. After a lifetime of international development work and a strong friendship with Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations, the George A. Laudato National Security Fellowship Endowment was created to empower students working on addressing issues close to his heart.
George Laudato graduated from Seton Hall University in May 1963 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. As a volunteer in one of the first classes for the Peace Corps, George spent two years in Panama, developing an interest in culture and international development that would serve as his motivation for the rest of his professional life. While the 1960s were often known as the "decade of development," George joined the campaign, and when he returned from Panama in 1966, he joined an agency still in its infancy that would become synonymous with international development: USAID. While at USAID, George served as a Foreign Service Officer in Vietnam, Yemen, Nicaragua, Egypt, and the Philippines and rose in rank to serve in several leadership roles as well.
In 1984 he became Deputy Director in Egypt, and in 1988, he served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Program Policy and Coordination and then as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia and the Near East. For ten years, George was the Managing Senior Vice President of Abt Associates, International Health, where he expanded work in health systems finance to health policy reform and restructuring worldwide, including Iraq. When he returned to USAID in 2008, he served as Acting Administrator for the Near East, working on issues posed by Iraq and the Arab Spring.
Throughout his career, he maintained relationships with his alma mater Seton Hall. After retirement, George intensified his commitment by serving on the Board of Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy from 2010 until his passing. During that time, he served as the Board Chair from 2015-2018. Following his passing, fellow board members Melinda Kimble (a fellow USAID FSO who worked with George), Stan Gutkowski, and George's wife Janna started the endowment fund. Since then, other Board members like Jim McGreevy and friends and family of George joined the fund pledging $150,000 with hopes to raise more.
The endowment is going directly to Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy National Security Fellowship (NSF). NSF is a unique, experiential learning opportunity whereby students engage in a comprehensive research project for one of the vital agencies of the U.S. government: the Department of State, the Department of Defense, or the White House. The students, led by Seton Hall University alumnus Mohamad Mirghahari, complete an operational research paper recommending solutions to some of the U.S. government's most challenging foreign policy problems. They present their findings to U.S. government officials in the requesting agency. Their findings are then circulated among the department and other agencies in the intelligence community.
The George A. Laudato Endowment will help fund the NSF program, including the travel, research materials, scholarships, and professor of practice needed to run the program. For the past six years, the NSF team has worked on topics ranging from countering violent extremism to leveraging bilateral relationships to address great power competition. The School hopes that in the future, the Endowment will allow NSF to expand to more teams and more topics covered every year.